Czechs Make Friends In Greece
The Czech Republic thrashed Poland 82-68 on Monday to knock them out of the EuroBasket Women and clinch a spot in the Quarter-Finals for Greece.
In an unexpected turn of events, the struggling Czechs who had just one win saved their best performance for their last game.
The Poles paid the consequences.
While falling to Greece 62-45 in their previous game, Milan Veverka's Czechs looked lost and short on confidence.
Against the Poles, who only needed to win to advance to the last eight and stay in contention for a place in next year's FIBA World Championship for Women, the Czechs played at their best.
"We're really happy that the girls, after the game against Greece where we played really bad, played so well," Veverka said.
"We the coaches are very glad that the girls found the concentration and played well on defense, which meant that we could play on offense more easily."
In upsetting Poland, the Czechs didn't allow Agnieszka Bibrzycka to contribute at all.
One of the biggest stars in the EuroLeague Women with Russian champions UMMC Ekaterinburg, Biba missed all six of her shots from the floor and failed to score.
She also had five of her team's 17 turnovers in almost 25 minutes on the court.
"We stopped their top player Agnieszka Bibrzycka," Veverka said, before looking ahead to next year when the Czechs host the FIBA World Championship for Women.
"For us, it will be very important to have all of our experienced players for the World Championship.
"In Latvia, we had the new generation."
The game was knotted at 14-14 with 2:19 to go in the opening quarter when Eva Viteckova's three-pointer put the Czech team in front for good.
Poland turned the ball over four straight times at the end of the frame and the Czechs capitalized, taking a 21-14 lead.
Krzysztof Koziorowicz's Poles cut the deficit to 31-27 with a three-point play from Magdalena Leciejewska midway through the second quarter, only for the Czechs to respond with a 12-0 run to go to half-time with a 43-27 stranglehold on the contest.
They took the run to 15 straight points after the restart for a 45-27 lead.
Shell-shocked Poland reduced the arrears to 14 late in the third quarter but Veverka's team maintained their poise and frustrated their opponents the rest of the way.