Web Posted: 06/20/2009 9:49 CDT Hammon, Russia come up short
By Terrence Thomas - Express-News
Becky Hammon’s late-game heroics were as big a reason as any for Russia advancing to the final of the European Championships.
The Silver Stars guard scored 18 of her game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter as Russia defeated Spain on Friday in the semifinals. She had nine of her 11 points in overtime as Russia clipped Latvia in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
There was no riding-to-the-rescue moment for Hammon, though, in Saturday’s final against France in Riga, Latvia.
France built a 19-point second-half lead, survived its own poor free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter, and edged Russia 57-53 to capture its first European title since 2001.
Hammon finished with nine points, making just 4 of 14 shots, including 0 of 8 on 3-pointers. She was 1 for 5 in the fourth quarter, missing her final four attempts, and committed two late turnovers.
She missed the Silver Stars’ loss Friday at New York and will miss today’s game at Connecticut but is expected to play in Tuesday’s home game against Phoenix.
France led virtually from start to finish, using an 18-6 run over the final 81/2 minutes of the first half to turn a 13-12 deficit into a 30-19 halftime lead.
The French would never trail after that, extending their lead to 45-26 with three minutes left in the third quarter.
Russia, capitalizing on France’s struggles from the line, rallied to get back into contention. France made just 3 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Maria Stepanova converted three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt, pulling Russia within 55-51 with 1: 40 remaining.
But Russia — playing in its fifth straight Euro final — missed seven of its final eight shots, including 3-point attempts by Hammon and Svetlana Abrosimova that would have pulled it within a point. Hammon, Russia come up short