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Brazil Women’s Basketball Protest Denied

August 9, 2003

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ Brazil changed its mind, protested its semifinal women’s basketball defeat against the United States _ and lost again.

Hours before the Americans played Cuba for the gold medal at the Pan American Games on Saturday night, Brazil filed its appeal. But Anibal Garcia of Puerto Rico, the technical director of COPABA, which oversees the tournament, said the protest was rejected.

The United States beat Brazil 75-69 in overtime, although play-by-play sheets compiled by USA Basketball and media members showed the Americans had only 14 points after the first quarter, not 15, as the official stats indicate. The Brazilian coach said following Friday night’s defeat that there was no problem with the scoring and the team would not appeal.

But before the bronze medal game with Canada, the Brazilians walked off the court, saying they intended to forfeit in protest. They changed their minds and beat Canada 57-46 for the bronze.

After the semifinal, official scorers refused to reveal their play-by-play when the problem was pointed out to them.

As the Americans got set to play basketball, the U.S. women’s handball team saw its shot at an Olympic berth disappear with a 29-26 overtime loss to heavily favored Argentina. The Americans will play Uruguay on Tuesday for the bronze medal.

With 34 seconds to play in regulation, Alyssa McKenna (New York) tied the game at 24. Argentina had a last-second goal disallowed, but dominated in the extra session.

Edina Batar (Budapest, Hungary) had 11 goals for the United States.

``Coming into this whole tournament, we were the underdogs in a big way,″ team captain Lisa Eagen (Oskaloosa, Iowa) said, ``and not only did we get better throughout, we started to play with authority. ... This whole experience makes a statement for our program that we’re building.″

Also making a statement in the Pan Ams has been Marcelo Rios, once the top-ranked tennis player in the world and now 43rd. The Chilean edged Alex Kim of Potomac, Md., 7-6 (9), 7-6 (4) to make the finals against Brazil’s Ferdinand Meligeni.

``I’m not at the level I have been in the past, but I will still win the title in my present condition,″ Rios said.

Meligeni will be playing his final match after 13 years on tour. That didn’t faze Rios.

``I’m indifferent,″ he said. ``I’ve played finals of major tournaments and I am used to the pressure and different types of opponents. I also know how to control anxiety and remain calm.″

Brazilians swept the marathon. Vanderlei Lima won the men’s race in 2 hours, 19 minutes, 8 seconds. Nineteen runners started the race, but six dropped out.

Marcia Narloch captured the women’s gold in 2:39.54.

Cuba’s powerful baseball team eliminated the hosts 10-0 in eight innings, even though the Dominicans had 13 former major leaguers on the squad. The United States played Brazil on Saturday night in another quarterfinal.

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