Reetta Piipari's jump-shot 14 seconds from time lifted Finland to a 46-45 win over Bosnia & Herzegovina in their EuroBasket Women qualifying opener in Espoo on Wednesday.
The hosts trailed 44-40 with 2:15 left to go but came roaring back to snatch victory at the death.
Sanna Helenius' first points of the game cut the deficit to two, 44-42, but Dragana Svitlica split a pair of free throws to give Bosnia & Herzegovina a little more breathing room.
Niina Laaksonen then cut the gap to one with a jumper 1:08 from time.
|Niina Laaksonen had 11 points and 17 rebounds for Finland|
There was still time for the visitors to get the ball to their hot hand, Azra Becirovic, who sent up a three-point attempt with one second left, but she came up empty to the delight of the home crowd.
Niina Laaksonen finished with 11 points and 17 rebounds for Finland, while Heta Korpivaara added 10 and six.
Becirovic led Bosnia & Herzegovina with 13 points and six rebounds.
Domingo Diaz, head coach Finland:
"We hade a great start early in the game, but then our physical difficulties started to show, as a result of many players coming back from an injury and not being at 100%. We also made some mistakes, which was the main reason why Bosnia and Herzegovina was able to cut our lead down".
"I don't believe in luck. I never stopped believing in this team. The Finnish girls have a big heart, they worked hard tonight and deserved to win this game".
"Good defence usually takes away points from the offence. We held Bosnia and Herzegovina under 50 points, so that means we played excellent defence".
Reetta Piipari, Finland point guard:
"It was an exciting game. The final shot wasn't really planned, but I was glad I hit it".
Niina Laaksonen, Finland center:
"It was a real fight and we had to work hard. Our opponent was tough, but we did well. We know that our upcoming opponents are also going to be tough, so this was a good preparation for those games."
Zoran Mikes, head coach Bosnia and Herzegovina:
"It was a tough game for us. A very low scoring game. Tonight luck was on Finland's side and their offensive rebounding was good. Finland didn't adopt very well to our change of tactics, from man to zone defence and that's how we got back in the game".
"We don't have many stars on our team, so defence is our strenght and we have to play offence with patience. We'll soon get some more players back from our injury list and hope to play better next time".