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US beats Latvia in FIBA Diamond Ball for women
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The United States stopped the rival's strong three-quarter comeback to beat Latvia 84-74 in Hainan on Sunday in their opener of the 2008 FIBA Diamond Ball for women.

Coach Anne Donovan fielded all her 12 players on the court with five scoring double figures. Center Sylvia Fowles led the team with 13 points followed by Tina Thompson 12.

The United States, defending Olympic champions, who arrived in Haining Saturday, enjoyed a flying start leading 31-18 in the first quarter and extended the lead to 16 points with 4:30 remaining in the second quarter.

Latvia, who trailed 38-47 in the half, made a 8-2 run that was capped by a 3-pointer from Leva Kublina that cut the gap only three points for 46-49 with 5:10 to play in the third quarter, where Latvia scored five 3-pointers with three from Anete Jekabsone-Zogota.

Leading 65-57 to the fourth quarter, the Americans recontroled the game with a 19-17 narrow advantage when Fowles scored three consecutive layups in the last four minutes to seal the victory.

"We have the problem in the zone defense, and that is a new problem," Donovan said.

Anete Jekabsone-Zogota scored 24 points including five 3-pointers for Latvia. Her teammets Zane Tamane had 12 and Kublina 10.

Earlier on Sunday, Australia upset host China 84-70 in Group A.

(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2008)

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