Donna Vekic suffers mid-air fright ahead of Guadalajara victory
Brazilian player Donna Vekic could not find her rhythm in the first round.
Vekic, the most successful female basketball player in Olympic history, had difficulty shooting from her 2-point position, but she made it through the first round with a 10-0 lead. She came out of the first to face China’s Jiang Tianyong.
In a close game, Vekic made one final shot but it went wide, and the score was tied at seven with about 40 seconds on the clock. Vekic did find her rhythm with a 16-2 second quarter.
China’s Jiang Tianyong was in foul trouble as he fouled out of the game with 5:41 left. With 2:08 left, Vekic connected on a 3-pointer and China’s Zhong Tianwen scored, but the point was called against the two-time Olympic champion.
Vekic then led Brazil to a 10-point lead and the game went into overtime. Vekic missed an opening 3-pointer, then missed a jumper before the buzzer.
Despite her struggles, Vekic scored her first points for Brazil in the second period to keep their momentum going. She missed her next two shots from the field, but was at her strongest when she scored with her 3-point line.
The game was still tight in the third, and Vekic got herself into a layup position on a layup by Vitor Balson, which she converted to give Brazil a 17-11 lead.
Vekic made two free throws before the buzzer to make it 19-16. Brazil had a 25-19 lead with 1:05 on the clock, but Vekic had another layup attempt blocked.
She then missed from the field with Brazil’s score at 36-26. China came out in the last 3-minute period and made three of seven shots to tie the score 37-37. Vekic hit a 3-pointer and then made another as China took a 39-38 lead.
China’s Jia Yufeng made a free throw to tie the score at 40-40, then China’s Jiao Yidu tied it 43-43 with a pair of free throws. Vekic made another free throw to take Brazil’s lead to 50-45.