Near-Miss Greece Take On Czechs

12.06.2009

Greece meet the Czech Republic in a battle for survival on Saturday.

Each finished 1-2 in the Preliminary Round and then crashed to defeats on the opening day of Qualifying Round play.

The Greeks, after opening with a resounding victory over Hungary in Group B, suffered back-to-back heart-breaking losses to Poland and Latvia, respectively.

In Riga, Kostas Missas' team went in front of Spain by eight points in the first half but ended up crashing to 67-48 defeat.

Greece endured an eight-minute scoring drought that began at the end of the second quarter and continued deep into the third against Spain.

"Our biggest problem that we have is on offense," said Missas.

"We cannot find solutions from the paint and that, besides everything, doesn't allow us to get on the bonus (for free throws). We have two or three players that are responsible for the offense but if only we could score 70 points, then we could win some games."

In Group A, the Czech Republic began the EuroBasket Women with narrow setbacks to Spain and Slovakia before coming back from a 16-point deficit to stun Ukraine.

Milan Veverka's team carried the momentum into the Qualifying Round game against Latvia and had an eight-point lead in the first half but weren't able to press home the advantage.

The Latvians took command at the end of the second quarter and then blew the game wide open in the third when they outscored the Czechs 19-7 with Zane Tamane and Anete Jekabsone-Zogota (25pts) inflicting most of the damage on offense.
 
Last Time Out: The Czech Republic beat Greece 61-54 in the Preliminary Round of the EuroBasket Women in 2005.
 
Stats: Greece were limited to just four points in the third quarter by Spain while the Czech Republic were outscored 19-7 by Latvia in the third quarter.
 
Key Match-Up: The Czech Republic's sharpshooter Eva Viteckova vs Greece's Evina Maltsi.
Viteckova plays for Gambrinus Brno while Maltsi plays for Czech champions USK Prague.
 
X-Factor:  Greece's Syliani Kaltsidou made a big impression in the Group Stages in Liepaja, providing offensive power alongside Maltsi. She had a nightmare performance against Spain, making just two of 11 from the floor and finishing with five points after 28 minutes on the court.
 
Sounding-Off: "It's an important game. It's the tallest team in the tournament (Czech Republic) against the shortest team in the tournament (Greece). It will be very interesting against the Czech Republic. We'll try to come up with a special tactic and plan against their big girls. That disadvantage with height in defense we hope we can turn it into an advantage in our offense" - Greece head coach Kostas Missas.

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