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Posted August 12, 2003 by publisher in Cuban Sports

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By Seattle Times news services

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — After surviving a protest by Brazil, the U.S. women couldn’t handle their nemesis on the basketball court as Cuba won the gold medal.

The Cubans, who have won five straight against the Americans in less than a month, took the championship 75-64 last night at the Pan American Games.

Rebekkah Brunson of Georgetown scored 16 points to lead the silver medalists.

Hours before the game, Brazil filed its appeal of Friday’s semifinal loss to the United States. 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 14 points after the first quarter — not 15, as the official stats indicated. Brazilian coach Antonio Carlos Barbosa said after the game that there was no problem with the scoring and 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.

“They submitted a protest that wasn’t really a protest because they didn’t submit it on time,” Garcia said.

“They should have made the protest before the game was over.”

The Brazilians said they would appeal to FIBA, the international governing body for basketball.

“They should improve the people working,” said Bobby Beck, vice president of Brazil’s basketball federation.

The U.S. men’s rifle team finished off a gold-medal sweep as Jason Parker of Omaha, Neb., and Spokane’s Eric Uptagrafft went 1-2 in the 50-meter, then Randy Sotowa of Arcadia, Calif., won men’s skeet.

State rowers earn medals

Washington rowers were at the forefront as the United States won a silver medal and two bronze medals.

Dave Friedericks of Port Townsend, who competed for Western Washington from 1996 to 1999, was part of the U.S. men’s four that finished second to Cuba. He thought steering problems cost the crew a gold medal.

“A silver medal is great, but when you had gold pretty much locked up and you lose it by steering problems, it takes the joy out of it,” Friedericks said.

Sarah Hirst of Pocock Rowing Center in Seattle and Anne Finke of Potomac Boat Club in Washington, D.C., won a bronze in the lightweight women’s double sculls. Canada won, and Cuba was second.

“This is my first international medal ever,” Hirst said. “It feels great.”

In the men’s double sculls, Pocock’s J. Sloan DuRoss and Conal Groom won a bronze, behind Cuba and Brazil.

“The whole problem all season has been being able to race at our potential,” Groom said. “We’re able to prove that we have good speed day to day in practice. The biggest focus for our race has been finding what we do day to day in practice.

“Today, unfortunately, was another example of not finding the same power per stroke or rhythm that we’ve had in practice for the last three weeks.”

Tyler Peterson and Evan Jacobs of Lake Washington Rowing Club in Seattle placed fifth in the lightweight men’s double sculls.


• The United States closed the track-and-field competition in style, grabbing four gold medals, including three in relays.

The Americans won the men’s 400-meter relay, women’s 400 relay and women’s 1,600 relay.

Ex-Washington Husky Ja’Warren Hooker was on the men’s 1,600 relay team that settled for a silver medal in 3:01.87.

Melissa Mueller of Simi Valley, Calif., won the women’s pole vault, clearing 14 feet, 5-1/4 inches.

Jamie Nieto, who was born in Seattle, was second in the men’s high jump at 7-5.

• 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.

• Cuba’s powerful baseball team eliminated the hosts 10-0 in eight innings, even though the Dominican Republic had 13 former major-leaguers.

The U.S. team beat Brazil 7-0.

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