The action continued in Brno today at the ACI Trading Ltd U20 European Championship Women 2005 and it is becoming clear who will have the main chance to make it good in the Quarter-Final Round next week.
Some teams have already made it through to the next round; others have been left with a do-or-die situation tomorrow in the last match-ups of the Preliminary Round games.
Hungary - Latvia 41 : 72
The one-sidedness of this game was evident even in the opening quarter. The sixteen-point lead quickly built up by the more aggressive Latvian team was especially due to accurate shooting from the two Elinas, Babkina and Zike.
|Elina Zike (Latvia)|
After the half-time break the match again took on a one-sided character: the Latvians quickened on the fast breaks, they successfully made use of their height superiority in under-the-basket collisions and Hungarians were left to watch helplessly the growing difference in the score. The second half decided that Hungary will stay in the group fighting for 9th to 16th position.
Head Coach Pál Buttás (Hungary): "Unfortunately we couldn’t get going at the beginning of the game and even if there was a certain improvement we still miss experience and in the second half we completely dropped off."
Ainars Cukste, Head Coach, Latvia: "We were afraid of the Hungarian team because a victory today was their only chance for reaching the quarterfinals. We took warning from the second quarter which we lost and I made clear my feelings in the dressing room after the first half. I made myself clear as for the duties of the team and our performance got visibly better."
Italy - Poland 60 : 70
|Aleksandra Chomac (Poland) |
Katarzyna Krezel topped for Poland with 17 points, closely followed by team-mate Magdalena Leciejewska who had 16 points and 14 rebounds. Benedetta Bagnara answered for the Italians with 14 points.
Both teams need a win tomorrow to ensure safe qualification to the Quarter-Finals.
Gianni Lambruschi (Italy): "This was a crazy basketball, a kind of game I have hardly ever seen. We did not play well for more than five minutes. The players must have forgotten everything, they had problems in defence, shooting and posting up. We must only hope that we will wake up very soon."
Roman Skrzecz (Poland): "I am satisfied, our performance was better than yesterday. Our team did very well in defence and in offence as well and I would be very happy if we continue the same way for the rest of the tournament."
Turkey - Ukraine 70 : 80
Following the half-time, the Ukrainian team was able to tactically keep a thirteen-point lead. The Turks kept trying to turn the game around again, but in vain. Once again, the best Ukrainian player on court was, without doubt, Olexandra Gorbunov who played the entire game, scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
Maryna Tkachenková, Head Coach, Ukraine: "At the beginning our game was really nervous. We calmed down towards the end of the first half when we took the decisive lead. The opening victory over Hungary helped us mentally and we are very happy about reaching the Quarter Finals."
Yiloizoglu Cejhun, Turkish Head Coach: "We have a young team which will play again next year in the same age category. We lack experience and we made many mistakes especially before the end of the first half when we were surprised by the pressure our opponent was exerting."
France - Greece 71 : 58
Both teams needed time to find their rhythm at the beginning of the game and both made many mistakes. During the first half the French were able to take the lead due to an excellent effort from the whole team, and primarily led by experienced players Fatimatou Sacko, Julie Barennes and Florence Lepron whose performances were outstanding.
Coming back after half-time, the French team had a lead of more than ten points which they were able to keep in safe for the rest of the match. The second half did not work out well for the Greeks especially as point guard Theomi Tzegiannaki hurt her ankle badly and had to be taken to hospital.
The Greek team tried its best to save today's game; Lolita Limoura scored 27 points and together with her team-mate Pelagia Papamichail played full 40 minutes, however it was not enough to stop the French.
Francis Denis (France): "To comment on today's match is very difficult. We lacked poise, we made many mistakes and we never succeeded in being completely in control of the Greek team."
Dimitris Bakogeorgos (Greece): "Even if our players were doing their best we were on the defensive. Furthermore we lost one of our main players ... what else is there to say."
Czech Republic - Romania 77 : 71 (OT)
|Czech players celebrating|
The Czechs started very well and they took a fifteen-point lead which was, however, lost by the half-time. The remainder of the game was tarnished by poor shooting and turnovers.
In overtime it was Darina Johnová‘s two huge three-point shots and Zuzana Ondrejová’s additional three which secired the game. The Romanians could simply not react to this sudden lead. The top scorer of the game was Johnová with 26 points.
Jirí Rusicka, Head Coach, Czech Republic: "First and foremost I am happy that we won. We did very well in the first quarter but then the players came up with useless passes and above all we made mistakes in defence. The Romanian team was back in the game, but fortunately the three-point attempts of Johnová and Ondrejová decided the game."
Dan Morarau, Head Coach, Romania: "The beginning of the game did not turn out well for us at all, we were bad in defence. Better aggressiveness towards the end of the first half helped us to turn the score around. The Czech team started to make mistakes under pressure, but in the extra period we left too much space in the three-point area which guaranteed us defeat."
Belgium - Finland 70 : 80
Both teams needed a win today to keep their tournament hopes alive and in the first half the game was very changeable. The first quarter turned out well for the Belgians, in the second quarter there was a turn around in the fortunes of the Finnish team as they started to be more offensive, working hard on rebounds and slowly they turned the score in their favour.
The second half had similar developments. The Finns were better in defence, more tactically sound in offence and thanks to Riika Terava and Kiri Kojola they won convincingly. The Belgians were more successful on the boards (44) but as opposed to the Finns their shooting percentage was very poor.
Arvid Diels, Belgium Head Coach: "Today's game was just the opposite of how we played yesterday. In the first quarter we did well but then we started to become nervous and made so many turnovers. We will see how we will be doing tomorrow."
Seppo Sonkeri, Head Coach, Finland: "We are satisfied; we were able to cope with today's match very well. The Belgian team is known for its tough game. Our team was able to face up to them though and was more successful from under-the-basket positions. We are happy."
Croatia - Spain 74:63
The Spanish game lacked organisation and above all they were not able to use properly their inside players. The Croatians started pushing forward on fast breaks immediately after gaining the possession of the ball and most of their fast breaks were finished by Monika Bosilj and by guard Iva Ciglar, both of whom worked very well under the basket as well.
The Spanish team started to wake up in the fourth quarter and point by point they reduced the gap but the Croatians played stop tactics very well and allowed them no real chance to get close.
Linda Mrdalj, Head Coach, Croatia: "What can I say? I am delighted because this second victory should mean reaching the Quarter-Finals. The first victory helped our mental state, without doubt. I really appreciate the girls' dedication to the game."
Jordi Fernandez, Head Coach, Spain: "At the beginning we were half asleep. Even if there was a kind of improvement in the second half, we were not calm and our shooting was really not good today."
Russia - Germany 62 : 51
From the beginning of the game both teams played really tough basketball, although the game was marked by nerves, mistakes and lost balls. Nevertheless, both sides played great defence but even with good offensive tactics neither of them could score. Several times throughout the game the ball went end to end without either side being able to take advantage.
Both head coaches were very emotionally involved which added to the already tense atmosphere. In the fourth quarter Marina Kuzina reversed the Russians’ bad luck under the basket , going strong to the hoop again and again. She scored a valuable 28 points altogether and pulled down 16 rebounds. Sarah Austmann topped for the German team, scoring 17 points.
The Russians are through to the Quarter-Final Round whereas Germany will now play for 9th-16th place.
Aleksandra Kojic, German, Head Coach: "Russia is a tough competitor and girls did well the whole game. We did our best in defence, what we were missing was more accurate shooting."
Galina Voronina, Head Coach, Russia: "We have been haunted by bad luck from the beginning of the championship. Moreover, one of our players is hurt now. I am still not satisfied with our team’s performance"