Local disappointment was keenly felt after the second day of Quarter-Final Round action at the U18 European Championship Women in Budapest as the home team went down 56-77 to defending champions Russia.
|Anna Mikheeva (Russia) |
Russia put on their best performance of the tournament so far and the Hungarians had few answers, especially in the second half when Russia moved up a gear and cruised away.
Russia had the poorer start and was behind for much of the first period. From the second quarter on, however, the game was all Russia as they steadily built up an ever-increasing lead. Dora Horti was unable to dominate inside as per her previous performances as the Russian defence proved too tight. Elena Gogiya was again on great form for the Russian side, she topped all scorers of the day with 28 points.
Game two threw up a big surprise as Serbia & Montenegro flexed their muscles and absolutely demolished Spain 81-52. What started as a promisingly close encounter turned into an absolute rout on the part of the Serbs and if they continue to play as well they could be looking to emulate the success of the U18 men’s team in Belgrade in July.
|Tamara Radocaj (Serbia & Montenegro) |
Spain wouldn’t let go at this stage and although Serbia & Montenegro kept trying to pull away, the Spanish side held on, again most of the action coming from the guards and forwards. At half-time Serbia & Montenegro held a 39-32 lead but the game still appeared to be wide open. Within two minutes of the third period this impression was all but gone as the Serbs turned the screws in defence and shut down the Spanish attack.
Serbia & Montenegro’s second half performance was very, very impressive as they executed from outside and in the paint and swarmed Spain in defence forcing turnover after turnover. Four Serb players scored in double figures, led by Miljana Musovic who had 17 points on 75% shooting from the field.
Serbia & Montenegro are now through to the Semi-Finals whereas Spain and Russia will face off in a final show-down tomorrow for the second Semi-Final spot from Group E.
|Andrea Oravcová (Slovak Republic)|
Lithuania bombed out of further contention, going down to Slovak Republic 39-49. The Lithuanians were unable recover from their hammering against France and although tried to pull back against the Slovaks in the second half, the players simply hadn’t the strength.
Andrea Oravcova was strong again for the Slovaks, she scored 16 and tops the Slovak team in scoring, averaging almost 15 points a game. Dasa Rajecka chipped in with 15 points and 9 rebounds.
The Slovak Republic will face a tough match-up against France tomorrow and need the win to have any hope of taking a place in the Semi-Finals.
In a thrilling finish to the day’s action, Czech Republic beat France 66-62 in a toughly contested meeting to go top of the Quarter-Final Round group. This win also hands the Czechs a place in Saturday’s Semi-Finals while France have to beat Russia tomorrow to go further.
This game had promised to be a nail-biter and did not disappoint. The two sides were neck-and-neck for the entire 40 minutes and the fans that had travelled to watch were treated to some great basketball. Both teams ran the fast-break at every opportunity, passed the ball around well while still looking for the easy basket inside.
The Czechs got off to a better start but France were soon at their heels and the lead changed hands several times over the four quarters.
Sandrine Gruda was once again outstanding for the French and the Czech centers had real trouble containing her. She led all scorers with 25 points and still sits atop the tournament leader table on scoring, averaging over 21 points per game. Anne-Sophie Pagnier and Jennifer Digbeu also had a good game adding 15 and 10 points respectively to the stats sheet.
For Czech Republic Romana Hejdova put up 15 points while Katerina Elhotova added 14.