Inconsistent Debut for U.S. Women

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Only the outcome brought any satisfaction for the U.S. women’s basketball team in its Pan American Games opener.

In a game long on effort but short on style, reserves Amy Herrig and Michelle Marciniak gave Team USA the lift it needed Friday night to beat Argentina, 63-55.

“It was just OK,” said Marciniak, a former Tennessee standout. “It was by no means acceptable.”

The young Americans, most of whom have little international experience, made only 39% of their shots and committed 24 turnovers.


They trailed by a point at halftime and led by only three midway through the second half before finally grinding down the Argentines.

“We’re just not playing good basketball right now,” said Coach Nell Fortner, who had only 13 days to get her team ready and substituted constantly trying to find the right combination.

Elsewhere, no American won on the final night of track and field, while Cubans took five of the 10 events. High jumper Javier Sotomayor won his fourth Pan Ams gold.

Canada beat the U.S. women’s water polo team, 8-6, for the gold medal, building a 3-0 lead and holding on. It was the third consecutive loss to Canada for the Americans.


When Argentina’s men beat the United States, 4-1, in field hockey, it ended any chances of the Americans qualifying for the Olympics.

And there’ll be no medal for the men’s volleyball team, which was knocked out when it lost to Venezuela, 25-21, 28-26, 25-22. The U.S. women could win a bronze, but their shot at gold ended with a three-set sweep by Cuba.

Things went better in the ring on the opening night of boxing. Flyweight Jose Navarro of Los Angeles started off with a 14-4 decision over Carlos Valcarcel of Puerto Rico in the new format of four two-minute rounds.