SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Russia overcame a very slow start to defeat the Netherlands 4-3 and take the first Olympic bronze medal in women's water polo Saturday night.

The Russians had only one goal in the first half and trailed 3-2 midway through the final period. But Sofia Konoukh flashed open left of the Dutch goal and tied it up with 2:19 left. Ioulia Petrova followed a minute later with the game-winner, slammed past Netherlands keeper Karla Plugge.

Petrova then fouled up a play down low to Dutch forward Marjan Op den Velde with 46 seconds remaining.

It had looked like nerves and the Dutch defense would get the best of the Russians in this one.

Karin Kuipers had two early goals and Ellen Leijendekker scored in the third quarter as the Netherlands, the FINA World Cup champs, led 3-1.

Russia, which scored 15 goals in a victory over Kazakstan this week, had trouble mounting an offense.

Konoukh scored Russia's first goal with 37.8 seconds left before halftime. The Russians got within a goal on Svetlana Kouzina's long score.

They finally broke through in the final quarter against Plugge to win the first medal given out for women in the sport after 100 years as a men's-only event.

Members of the team dunked coach Serguei Frolov in the Sydney International Aquatic Center pool and hugged each other after.

The Russians finished 3-3-1 in the tournament, while the Dutch were 3-4-0.