|Jolien Goyvaerts and Belgium sit on top of a tidy 2-0 record and have their ticket to the QUalifying Round already|
by Björn-Lars Blank
Belgium and the Czech Republic went back and forth in the second game of the day in Group D. With a 69-60 victory the Belgians secured themselves a spot in the Qualification Round.
After Belgium captured a 22-18 advantage in the early going the Czechs turned it up a notch in the second quarter. After a successful fastbreak lay-up they claimed the lead. Belgium Head Coach Daniel Goethals quickly took a timeout. His team conquered back the lead with six unanswered points and went up 32-29 until halftime.
After the intermission Belgium were off to a quick start but the Czechs were reluctant to let the game slip away. Instead they tied the game at 37-37. A three-pointer by Dominika Pohunkova brought a lead change but this time Belgium quickly responded. While the Czechs suddenly lost their offensive rhythym the Belgians went on a 10-0 run (47-40).
Just like in the third quarter the Czechs were able to come back again and take a narrow lead in the fourth(50-51) only to see Belgium go up in front again on the very next possession. This time Belgium outscored them 10-2 to go up by 60-53. In the closing minutes of the game they made sure their Czech rivals could not start another comeback.
With the final score of 69-60 Belgium earned their second triumph after routing hosts Greece yesterday. Goethals was pleased by the effort of his whole team. "We knew this was going to be a more difficult game than yesterday. We also knew that this game might be very important to finish first in our group. I like the fact that my team stayed strong. The important details have been on our side at the end. Now we play Belarus tomorrow. We are not going to underestimate them."
For the Czech Republic, who won their opener against Belarus, it was the first defeat of the tournament. The Czechs will face host Greece in their final game of the Preliminary Round.