Repeat Performance: Serbia Follows Spain Into Finals

07.07.2007

By Cindy Garcia-Bennett, Novi Sad

High-scoring Jelena Milovanovic poured in 32 points as host nation Serbia crushed Russia 75-53 to reach the final of the UMCOR U18 European Championship Women in Novi Sad.

Guided by Milovanovic's hot hand, unbeaten Serbia delivered some telling blows late in the third quarter, breaking open a close game.

Serbia will face defending champions Spain in the gold medal game on Sunday, in a repeat of last year's final.

The teams played out a low-scoring opening quarter as Russia took a 10-8 lead.

Serbia's defence limited the Russians to just seven points in the next eight minutes as they pulled in front, 23-17.

Serbia could have extended their lead further after Elena Pavlova was called for an unsportsmanlike foul late in the second quarter, but they failed to take advantage.

Sonja Petrovic's jumpshot gave Serbia a 27-20 half-time lead.

Serbia went on a 8-3 surge at the start of the third quarter to take a 35-23 advantage.

Pavlova nailed Russia's first three-pointer of the evening after 28 minutes played to cut the deficit 41-35.

But they were then handed a blow with Milovanovic's four-point play giving Serbia a 51-35 lead going into the final quarter.

Russia's hopes of a comeback were soon crushed by inspired Serbian duo Nina Bogivevic and Milovanovic.

Nadezda Grishaeva led Russia in scoring with 13 points.

Serbia were superior shooting the ball, hitting eight of 19 (42.1%) from beyond the arc and 16 of 47 (34%) inside it.

By contrast, the Russians were 17 of 52 (32.6%) inside the arc and just two of 16 (12.5%) from long range.

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