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USA Curling

USA women eliminated from playoff contention in Sochi

By Terry Kolesar | Feb. 15, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 15, 2014

USA women eliminated from playoff contention at 2014 Olympic Winter Games

(SOCHI, Russia) - Team USA's honorary captain Vernon Davis thought he'd be the good luck charm that Erika Brown's team desperately needed at the Ice Cube Curling Center. 

Davis, a Pro Bowl tight end for the San Francisco 49ers, arrived in Sochi Friday night to support the U.S. curling team here at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and sat in on the game between the Americans and Sweden's Margaretha Sigfridsson rink. The game went down to a measure that awarded the winning point to the Swedes.

"It was really nice to come out here and watch these girls compete. In the past, I would normally come and watch the guys. But, I find it's even more fun watching the girls as well. They are so good, they are also so competitive," said Davis, who served as the honorary captain for the U.S. men in Vancouver in 2010. 

Brown (Oakville, Ontario/Madison, Wis.) and teammates Debbie McCormick (Rio, Wis.), Jessica Schultz (Minneapolis, Minn.), and Ann Swisshelm (Chicago) had their best outing of the week with an 83 percent performance with Brown shooting 89.

"It was well played and she drew the edge of the button to win. I guess that's the way it goes. I'm proud of the girls. They played a great game tonight," Brown said after the loss.

"Maria made an amazing shot, it was a really tough shot and she deserved the win with that shot," McCormick said about Sweden's final shot to win. 

"I was measuring in case somebody would fall down," McCormick said and laughed as she referred to the legendary "Curse of Labonte" when the Americans lost the 1972 world championship after Labonte jumped in the air after thinking the U.S. had won and slipped and touched a stone. An extra end was played and Canada stole a point to win the game. "We knew she was going to play that shot and she made it."

Sweden advances to 5-2 in the round robin standings while the loss officially eliminates the Americans from playoff contention as they slip to 1-6 with two games remaining.

"Listen, I'd rather lose it like that then the way we've lost some of the others," Brown said. "I love it when they're good, hard battles with lots of great shots. I'm thrilled that it was a game like that. We've been waiting to have a game like that and obviously we want to come out on top. That's the way I think this team plays most of the time and I'm so proud that they came out and played a really great game." 

The U.S. got on the scoreboard first with a draw for a single point to avoid the steal. Sweden, with Maria Prytz throwing last stones, was forced to draw into the four-foot as well and accept just a single point in the second end.

Team USA earned another single in the third as Brown was forced to draw into the four-foot facing four Swedish rocks. The U.S. got a stone tucked behind a corner guard in the fourth end, but Prytz converted an angle raise takeout to score two points. 

Prytz saved the Swedes from giving up a big end in the fifth with a double takeout. The Americans made a takeout to seal the deuce and take a 4-3 lead. Sweden answered with a deuce in the sixth end, in similar fashion. Brown made a double takeout and then Prytz converted a takeout for two.

The American ladies answered again with a deuce in the eighth end after Sweden's stone rolled out after the hit and roll by Prytz. This set up a draw for Brown to take back the lead.

After the ninth end was blanked, Sweden got a stone on the button for first count and worked in earnest to get a second rock in. The two last-rock throwers both played great draws around the guards to the button to position their stones and after the measure, it was determined that Sweden's final stone was just a whisker closer to the center of the rings for the win.

"It was such a great game. It was back and forth, lots of great shots with lots of saves with the hammer," Brown said. "We want to win. We are hoping to get a couple more. We hoped to get this one tonight. I'm not sure if it would have made a heck of a difference - maybe 4-5 would get in, maybe not."

The U.S. ladies return to the ice tomorrow afternoon against Canada (7-0), which qualified for the playoffs with a 5-3 win over Russia (3-4) tonight. John Shuster and the American men have two games on Sunday. In the morning session the U.S. plays Canada (5-2) while Sweden (6-1) faces the Americans in the night matchup.

"It's not that we can't pinpoint what happened, we know it was a lot of rock placements, lost opportunities, but we haven't lost the fire," McCormick said. "We definitely want to do the best we can for the United States and for ourselves. We're not giving up; we still want to play our best."

Davis will be at the curling venue supporting Team USA again tomorrow. He took interest in the sport in 2009 and accepted USA Curling's offer to be the honorary captain in 2010 and again in 2014. 

"The thing that intrigues me about curling is that it's so competitive from a thinking standpoint," Davis said. "You really have to use your mind, really come up with a good strategy to defeat your opponent. There's just something about it that I love. Curling helps me when it comes to the game of football. When I watch these girls and the men's team, it shows me how important it is to use your mind in a game. It's not a game that allows you to be physical. The mental part of the game is more important than being physical."

Line score:
*USA (Brown) 101 020 020 0 - 6 
Sweden (Sigfridsson) 010 202 000 2 - 7 
*last rock in first end

Women's Draw 9 scores: Switzerland 8, Great Britain 6; Denmark 9, China 6; Canada 5, Russia 3; Sweden 7, USA 6

Standings, Women:
Canada 7-0
Sweden 5-2
China 4-3
Switzerland 4-3
Great Britain 4-3
Russian Fed. 3-4
Japan 2-4
Korea 2-4
Denmark 2-5
USA 1-6

Standings, Men:
China 6-1
Sweden 6-1
Canada 5-2
Great Britain 5-2
Norway 3-3
USA 2-4
Denmark 2-5
Russian Fed. 2-5
Switzerland 2-5
Germany 1-6

Teams are competing in a nine-game round robin through Feb. 17 followed by playoffs on Feb. 19-21. For live scores and results, go to http://sochi2014.curlingevents.com/olympics

NBC is airing all of the curling action either live or tape delay as well as live online. Go to http://www.nbcolympics.com to learn more.

Here is a look at Team USA's remaining round robin competition schedule (all times local, Moscow/MSK):

U.S. Women:
Sunday, Feb. 16: USA v. Canada, 2 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 17: USA v. Korea, 9 a.m.

U.S. Men:
Sunday, Feb. 16: USA v. Canada, 9 a.m.; and USA v. Sweden, 7 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 17: USA v. Switzerland, 2 p.m.

Follow USA Curling on Twitter (@terry_usacurl) and check our website (www.usacurl.org) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/USA-Curling/107975609011) for updates throughout the Olympic Games. 

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For more information: 

Terry Kolesar, Press Officer, Team USA
terry.kolesar@usacurl.org 
+1-719-207-5083 (mobile-Russia)

Rick Patzke, Assistant Press Officer, Team USA
rick.patzke@usacurl.org
+1-719-207-5089 (mobile-Russia)

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, BalancePlus and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, and is partnered with Hilton, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.

Visit the USA Curling website at www.usacurl.org and connect with USA Curling on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare.

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