Guy Baker Guides U.S. Women To Water Polo Silver Medal

Sept. 23, 2000

Sydney, Australia (AP) - In a wild ending to the first-ever women's Olympic water polo tournament that may never be topped, Yvette Higgins scored with 1.3 seconds left as Australia beat the United States 4-3 for the gold medal Saturday night.

Both teams stood in the pool after Higgins' goal, uncertain about the result. When it was ruled good, the nearly 17,000 spectators at the Sydney International Aquatic Center let out a deafening roar as if Australia's beloved "Thorpey" had won another gold.

American and UCLA coach Guy Baker argued with officials as his shocked team, one of the last teams to qualify here, looked lost.

It was a game of wild swings and emotional highs, as organizers had hoped when they added women's water polo after nearly 100 years as an men's only Olympic event.

Naomi Castle thrilled the crowd with 1:50 to go with her shot from the left side that gave Australia a 3-2 lead.

But after Taryn Woods was whistled for a foul, Brenda Villa scored with 26 seconds remaining to deadlock things and perhaps set up the tournament's first-ever overtime.

It wasn't to be. An apparent Australian goal was disallowed because of a U.S. foul. Then the Aussies set it out for Higgins, who rifled it past goalie Bernice Orwig with scant seconds left.

No one knew what to do. Fans wanted to cheer, but the goal judge had not made a call. And Baker was rushing up the pool deck asking for clarification and extra time.

The official notice set off bedlam and brought a close to the Olympics' first women's event.

The United States had not won a water polo medal since consecutive silvers in 1984 and 1988. Three UCLA players - Robin Beauregard, Nicolle Payne and Coralie Simmons - plus Baker earned silver medals, bringing UCLA's medal count to five.


EVENT INFORMATION
UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Saturday, Jan 30
vs. USA Scrimmage
Los Angeles, CA
L, 13-4
Saturday, Feb 13
vs. Sonoma State
San Diego, CA
W, 17 - 1
Saturday, Feb 13
vs. Loyola Marymount
San Diego, CA
W, 14 - 7
Sunday, Feb 14
vs. UC Davis
San Diego, CA
W, 5 - 1
Sunday, Feb 14
vs. USC
San Diego, CA
L, 6 - 8
Friday, Feb 19
at UC Irvine
Irvine, CA
W, 11 - 6
Saturday, Feb 27
vs. San Diego State
Newport Beach, CA
W, 6 - 5
Saturday, Feb 27
vs. Michigan
Newport Beach, CA
W, 14 - 8
Sunday, Feb 28
vs. Hawai'i
Irvine, CA
W, 10 - 6
Sunday, Feb 28
vs. USC
Irvine, CA
L, 7 - 10
Saturday, Mar 05
vs. Loyola Marymount
Ann Arbor, MI
W, 17 - 4
Saturday, Mar 05
vs. George Washington
Ann Arbor, MI
W, 22 - 5
Sunday, Mar 06
at Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
W, 9 - 5
Sunday, Mar 06
vs. Bucknell
Ann Arbor, MI
W, 20 - 5
Sunday, Mar 20
at CSU Bakersfield
Bakersfield, CA
W, 6 - 1
Friday, Mar 25
at California
Berkeley, CA
W, 4 - 3
Saturday, Apr 02
vs. San Jose State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 13 - 6
Sunday, Apr 03
vs. Redlands
Los Angeles, CA
W, 23 - 2
Sunday, Apr 03
vs. Pomona-Pitzer
Los Angeles, CA
W, 25 - 3
Saturday, Apr 09
at USC
Los Angeles, CA
L, 5 - 8
Friday, Apr 15
vs. Arizona State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 16 - 6
Saturday, Apr 23
vs. Stanford
Los Angeles, CA
W, 9 - 8 (3OT)
Friday, Apr 29 - 11:00 AM PST
at CSU Bakersfield
Bakersfield, CA
Friday, May 13 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA Championships
Los Angeles, CA
BRUINS ON PAC-12 NETWORKS