Russia Outlast Serbia In Semi-Final

04.08.2012

U18 WOMEN

Turning Point: Trailing 66-59, Russia picked up their defence midway through the final quarter and it helped them finish the game with a devastating 16-3 run.

Game Heroes: Zhanna Byazrova fired 20 points including four triples, Albina Razheva claimed a double-double while Alexandra Marchenkova poduced a wonderful cameo with eight points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Stats Don't Lie: Serbia hit a dry spell at the wrong time. Three points during the last seven minutes of any game is always going to be potentially fatal.

8. Zhanna Byazrova (Russia)
 Zhanna Byazrova wanted to hug the entire world after the Semi-Final - her 20 points on 53 percent shooting from the floor helped Russia clinch a place in the U18 European Championship Women Final

A sparkling three-point shooting performance by Zhanna Byarzova and tough defence during crunch time propelled Russia to a 75-69 win against Serbia and a place in the final of the U18 European Championship Women in Bucharest.

For long periods of what was an intense struggle, Serbia looked like they had the edge but Byarzova kept her team hanging on when their opponent threatened to break away for good.

And, when her ruthlessness from the perimeter was matched by swarming defence in the last period, Serbia crumbled and went into an offensive meltdown.

Even a game-high 23 points from playmaker Aleksandra Stanacev wasn't enough to save the day for the Serbians who will be kicking themselves for allowing a seven-point lead to slip with only seven minutes of the contest remaining.

But, they simply failed to execute and having looked so assured in their decision-making for three-quarters, they lost the plot and began throwing some wild passes and over dribbling in the wrong areas, which led to 15 turnovers.

Olga Novikova meanwhile played over 32 minutes for Russia but only scored four points.

However, they came from two decisive baskets during the closing minutes which helped her team book a date with either France or the Netherlands in the Final.


 


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