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Group:  A | 07.06.2009, 13:30h
Group:  A | 07.06.2009, 13:30h
55-77
16 - 268 - 2419 - 1412 - 13
16 - 268 - 2419 - 1412 - 13
Venue: Liepaja |
Spectators: 500 |
Referees: Regis Bardera (FRA), Marius Ciulin (ROU), Jurgis Laurinavicius (LTU)

GAME REPORT


Slovakia Open In Convincing Style

Slovakia played in a EuroBasket Women Final Round game for the first time in six long years on Sunday.

On the evidence of their 77-55 blowout of Ukraine, Pokey Chatman's team is going to be regulars at the event for many years to come.

In a clash with a Ukrainian outfit that had to go through the Additional Qualifying Round, Slovakia gave nothing away on defense while also showing an explosive quality to their offensive game that raised the eyebrows of the other coaches in the Liepaja Olympic Center scouting the two teams.

9. Olexandra Gorbunova (Ukraine)
Olexandra Gorbunova had 11 points for Ukraine, but it was not enough.
With the contest knotted at 14-14 after the opening eight minutes, Slovakia took over.

Ivana Jalcova drilled a jump shot to spark a 12-2 run for her team to end the first quarter.

In that decisive spurt, Lucia Laskova followed with a three-pointer, a three-point play and a free throw before Jalcova finished the quarter with a three-ball for a 26-16 lead.

Slovakia then delivered the knockout punch over the next five minutes, outscoring Ukraine 9-4.

By half-time, Slovakia had a 50-24 stranglehold on proceedings.

"We had a terrible start," Ukraine forward Olexandra Gorbunova said.

"We had a low shooting percentage (10 of 30, 33%) and we let them score 50 points in the opening half."

Ukraine were particularly woeful from three-point range in the opening two quarters, hitting just one of their eight shots (12.5%) while Slovakia were four of seven (57.1%).

The impressive Laskova went to the changing rooms with 10 points.

Slovakia won the rebounding battle over the first 20 minutes, 18-13, and repeatedly went to the free-throw line where they made 12 of 14 (86%) compared to just three of four (75%) for Ukraine.

"In the second half we tried to change our defense and played zone but it still didn't work," Gorbunova said.

"This is our first game and we just didn't show what we are capable of doing. We must forget it and think about our next game."

Zuzana Zirkova, the veteran point guard who made her senior team debut at the 1998 FIBA World Championship in Germany under former coach Natalia Hekjova, had 12 points to lead all scorers at the break.

The sign of a good team is that it knows a game isn't over until the final buzzer, and that's what Chatman reminded her team at half-time.

"At half-time, our coach told us to remain concentrated," said Regina Palusna, who was playing in her first competitive game in 11 months.

"We had a strong start but we had to keep going."

When play resumed, Slovakia extended the lead to 58-33 midway through the third quarter and cruised.

"This is the start we wanted to this competition and we are delighted with the win," Palusna added.

"I wanted us to come out and have a good start and by playing good defense early on, that helped us get into our offense," Chatman said.

"Now it's time to start getting ready for tomorrow."

Slovakia will face the Czech Republic while Ukraine will go up against Spain.

The teams playing in Liepaja, a seaside restore in Latvia, are going to have quite a treat.

The very colourful, state-of-the-art arena opened in 2008.

COACH QUOTES


Slovakia vs. Ukraine Quotes

Volodymyr BRYUKHOVETSKYY, Ukraine Head Coach

"The key to Slovakia`s win was their tight defense and better shooting percentage. The Slovakian leaders showed through their performance what they are expected to do."

Pokey CHATMAN, Slovakia Head Coach

"We have four newcomers and Martina Luptakova with her experience was our most important reinforcement."

Accumulated statistics

34.6%

18/52
FG
M/A

43.8%

28/64

42.1%

16/38
FG2P
M/A

44.9%

22/49

14.3%

2/14
FG3P
M/A

40.0%

6/15

68.0%

17/25
FT
M/A

78.9%

15/19

38

13/25
RT
RO/RD

34

9/25

10

AS

15

25

TO

16

12

ST

14

3

BS

0

18

PF

23

55

Pts

77

Next Games

Ukraine

Ukraine

Slovak Republic

Slovak Republic