Russian forward Anna Petrakova hailed team-mate Becky Hammon’s clutch fourth quarter performance as Russia edged Canada 58-53 at the London Olympics.
Petrakova herself scored nine points and dished out five assists in their opening Group B encounter against a determined Canadian outfit that led by 10 points with 4:56 remaining in the fourth but admits that South Dakota-born Hammon showed up when it mattered.
“She [Hammon] gave us a tremendous lift on the offensive end,” Petrakova said. “She was so energetic and made some key shots in the fourth and it was emotional most of all because of our problems in the early part of the game.”
Hammon, who shot the ball the ball poorly and was sluggish at best in the first three quarter came to life by scoring eight points in the last 2:40 to finish on 14 points for Russia as Canada were not able to cope with the durability of not just Hammon but the entire Russian squad, especially in the fourth.
The tricky 5’6 guard started on the bench for Boris Sokolovskiy’s side but played a vital role in the team’s success.
“The team was trying to achieve their goals through Becky,” Russia’s Alena Danilochkina said as she was asked if Russia’s plays were designed around the San Antonio Silver Stars player.
Russia play Brazil next on Monday before facing off against hosts Great Britain on Wednesday.