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Nyet! Russia fails to qualify for women's worlds

Epiphanny Prince will head back to Chicago a little sooner than expected.

Prince will return to the U.S. this week after Russia didn't advance past the opening round of the EuroBasket women's tournament. The Russian national team finished last in its pool, winning one game. Prince scored 13 points in the team's lone victory Monday against Italy, but the Russians lost the tiebreaker to advance when Spain beat Sweden.

The New York native, who was averaging 20.7 points for the Chicago Sky before leaving to join the Russian national team earlier this month, missed three WNBA games. They went 1-2 without her. Prince was originally expected to miss the whole month of June to play for Russia in the tournament.

By failing to finish in the top five of the tournament, Russia will miss next year's world championship for only the fourth time since it began in 1953. The Russians, then playing as the Soviet Union, didn't play in the first tournament and boycotted the 1979 worlds. Russia failed to qualify in 1994.

It is the latest disappointment for Russia women's basketball. The country finished fourth at the Olympics, losing to Australia in the bronze medal game. The Russians had won bronze medals at the previous two Olympics, but haven't won a gold medal since 1992 when they played as the Unified Team.

Now Prince and Russia will have to wait until 2015 to try and qualify for the Rio Olympics. Prince was looking to be the second American-born player to play for Russia's national team in the Olympics. Becky Hammon played in the last two Olympics for Russia and also the 2010 world championship. Prince, who was born in Brooklyn, became a naturalized Russian citizen in 2010, but this was her first time playing with the national team.

Since Prince hasn't played for the United States in any major FIBA-sanctioned international events, she was allowed to compete for Russia.


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The Associated Press News Service

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