|26 July 2012|
A stellar double-double performance by center Paulina Hersler fired Sweden to an absorbing and thrilling 82-78 overtime victory against a crestfallen Poland.
The Swedes were second best for long periods and even trailed by double-digits at half-time, but a combination of Hersler and an unfortunate injury to Polish playmaker Dominika Owczarzak contributed to a memorable debut in Bucharest.
Spectators inside the Mihai Viteasu Sport Hall were treated to a fine first encounter to open up the tournament, with a magnificent 32 points and 11 rebounds by the dominant Hersler the highlight.
Poland will be kicking themselves for letting this one get away. Noticeably more aggressive defensively and far superior in transition, they looked well set when 35-25 ahead at the interval.
But, perhaps they relaxed a little too much as Sweden came storming out of the blocks at the start of the third quarter to turn the game on its head.
Fittingly, it was Hersler who hit the triple which completed the fightback and handed her team the lead at 50-49, while she also grabbed the putback score which forced overtime.
And, with Owczarzak having to be carried off the court having contributed 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists, her all-round influence was sorely missed as Poland failed to regain the initiative.