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Olympic Legends - Natalia Zasulskaya
LONDON (Olympics) - The 1992 Barcelona Games marked a period of change for international basketball, both for the men and women.
The Americans sent their Dream Team full of NBA superstars to an Olympics for the first time in what truly was the dawn of a new era for the men's game.
For the women, change was evident by the name of the team that won the gold.
It was not the Soviet Union, the team that had won two Olympic titles and five World Championships, but rather the Commonwealth of Independent States.
A member of that C.I.S. team was Natalia Zasulskaya.
A 1.89m power forward who was born in Lithuania, Zasulskaya played for C.I.S. and then Russia.
Zasulskaya was a player that everyone knew in Europe.
She had shined for Spartak Leningrad from 1985 to 1991 and then moved to Valencia, Spain, to compete for Dorna Godella.
At the Barcelona Games, Zasulskaya was phenomenal.
She poured in a game-high 20 points in the 79-73 Semi-Final victory over the United States that ended their title defense.
Zasulskaya then showed up for the gold-medal game with China and scored 19 as C.I.S. prevailed, 76-66.
She averaged 17.4 points per contest at the Barcelona Games.
Zasulskaya also worked her magic at FIBA World Championships for Women.
In 1998, she played a leading role in one of the greatest Finals of all time for Russia.
In a thrilling gold-medal game against the United States, one that wasn't decided until the final minute, Zasulskaya had 20 points and nine rebounds but a brilliant USA won, 71-65.
Zasulskaya was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2010.