Bär Winner Not Enough As Ukraine Are Latvia Bound

16 January 2009
Germany won the game, but Ukraine claimed the biggest prize by clinching a place in the EuroBasket Women 2009 in Latvia.

Germany triumphed 48-45 over Ukraine in Saarlouis thanks to a last gasp Romy Bär triple but the margin of victory wasn't enough for Imre Szittya's team to overcome their 26-point defeat in Ukraine on January 7.

Ukraine rolled to a 73-47 win in the first meeting.

Volodymyr Bryukhovetsky, the Ukraine coach, said: "We are very happy to be on our way to Latvia but of course disappointed because of the loss here.

"But the Germans are a great team and fought until the end. I am very proud of the strong performance of my team as we know how hard it is to play in Germany."

Indeed they do! In their Division A meetings last year, Ukraine were at home and demolished the Germans 93-39 in their first game but when the second contest was staged in Germany, they fell 74-65.

That loss cost Ukraine direct qualification for the Final Round in Latvia but in the Additional Qualifying Round, they have been the best team.

Germany never seriously threatened to overhaul them in the race to Riga on Friday and needed a strong final quarter when they outscored Ukraine 16-6 just to win the game.

In a very low-scoring game, Germany held a slender 26-25 advantage at half-time and trailed 39-32 heading to the last quarter.

Szittya saluted Ukraine for their excellent work in the Additional Qualifying Round

"They were the best team in the group and deserve to go to Latvia. I am very proud of my team as they won two games despite several challenges they had to face," he said.

There has been a lot of hype about the emerging German star Bär and she has certainly lived up to it.

On Friday in front of her home fans, the Saarlouis star led her team with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Olena Zherzherunova paced the Ukrainians with 19 points and nine rebounds.

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