Serbia Qualify To EuroBasket Women

20.09.2006

Serbia surged to the top of Group D in EuroBasket Women qualifying on Wednesday with a 62-49 defeat of Finland in Helsinki.

It was the third consecutive win for Serbia after they dropped their opening game against Romania. 

Serbia are now guaranteed first place in the group with a 3-1 record, even though Romania has one game remaining against Finland on Wednesday.

A win for Romania would also give them a 3-1 record, but in a tie-break situation with Serbia, Serbia emerge on top thanks to their superior goal average in the games between the two teams.

"We were in a must win situation and I am really pleased we were able to secure a place in the EuroBasket Final Round," said Serbia head coach Jovica Antonic.

After a poor first quarter performance in which they tallied just 13 points, Serbia came to life in the second.

They quickly overhauled Finland's five-point lead and Biljana Stankovic gave them the lead for good midway through the second quarter with a jump shot, 26-23.

Serbia surged ahead, mainly thanks to Stankovic who scored eight points in 10 minutes and led 34-28 at halftime.

Finland managed to stay within striking distance after the break, but Serbia put them away in the fourth quarter.

They made three straight shots to open the final stanza and established a 12-point lead, 53-41. That lead would stay in double digits for the rest of the game as Serbia cruised to victory. 

"The home team was really on a fighting spirit tonight and I think that sparked my team as well," said Antonic.

"We had some good moments today and played with great attitude," added Finland head coach Hilpi Savikko. 

"We made Serbia really work for their win, but were not able to keep the pace up for all of the four periods."

Ana Jokovic led Serbia with 12 points in a balanced scoring in which four players reached double figures.


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