The Associated PressLIMA (AP) — After the final buzzer, the members of Argentina’s women’s basketball team huddled near the edge of the center circle and cried — even though they won.
The team’s 73-59 victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands at the Pan American Games on Thursday was bittersweet.
A day earlier, the team had walked into the same court wearing the wrong uniform color and had been forced to forfeit its game against Colombia, and blocked from advancing to the medal round.
No one knows exactly what went wrong. The Argentines were supposed to wear white jerseys as the away team, but came onto the court in the Peruvian capital in blue, the same color as Colombia. They had 15 minutes to correct the mistake but couldn’t get the right shirts in time, leading to Colombia being awarded a walkover 20-0 victory.
The embarrassing blunder prompted two senior team officials to resign and became a sad end to the medal hopes of a promising team. But “The Giants,” as they are best-known, grew even bigger with adversity and recovered with a resounding, even if symbolic triumph.
“It was a very emotional game. We needed to show that we were going to fight until the end,” said Melissa Gretter, who scored eight points.
“It was thought yesterday, but we knew we needed to change the chip. We knew that we had a game to play, and we wanted the victory.”