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(E) Augustus grabs MVP, U.S. gets gold in Croatia
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  08/4/2003 | Sports | Unrated
(E) Augustus grabs MVP, U.S. gets gold in Croatia


Augustus grabs MVP, U.S. gets gold in Croatia


Augustus' tournament-high point total enabled the USA to finish with a 7-1 record, avenging an earlier 73-60 loss to Brazil in pool play.

She scored 43 points in the Americans' final three games in the medal round and averaged 10.6 points for the tournament -- the USA's lone double-figure scorer.

"It's very exciting for me, just that way that it's happened," Augustus said of her MVP award. "I've never won anything worldwide, so it's a very big accomplishment for me. With some of the elite players in our country, for us to come out here and win a war like this is just great."

Augustus was one of four players for the U.S. to score in double figures against Brazil. She made 8 of 13 shots from the field -- including a pair of 3-pointers -- pulled down five rebounds and had two steals in a team-high 35 minutes.

Shawntinice Polk of Arizona scored 14, Christi Thomas of Georgia added 13 and a team-high eight rebounds and Shreveport native Alana Beard of Duke scored 12.

LSU's Temeka Johnson scored two points and had a rebound in nine minutes.

Augustus' play helped the USA turn a tenuous first quarter that included three ties and four lead changes into a comfortable 44-30 halftime advantage. She scored four points in a 9-0 surge that resulted in a 35-22 lead with 3:43 left before halftime.

Defense also contributed to the success of the U.S. team, holding Brazil to 29 percent shooting from the field in the second quarter compared to 51.4 percent shooting for the Americans.

Ana Flavia Sackis and Graziane De Jesus led Brazil with 11 points apiece. Leading scorer and former WNBA player Erika De Souza, who was averaging 14.1 points in the tournament, was held scoreless and missed all six of her shot attempts.

Consecutive layups from Polk ignited a 6-1 run to give the U.S. its biggest lead of the game -- 50-31 -- at the 6:40 mark of the third quarter before Brazil stormed back into contention and closed to within 54-47.

That's when Augustus made a 3-point basket and provided her team with a 10-point advantage (57-47) heading into the fourth quarter.


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