Cancel
Group:  B | 07.06.2009, 20:30h
Group:  B | 07.06.2009, 20:30h
86-52
24 - 1218 - 1020 - 1524 - 15
24 - 1218 - 1020 - 1524 - 15
Venue: Liepaja |
Spectators: 2492 |
Referees: Seffi Shemmesh (ISR), Sergey Krug (RUS), Kati Nynäs (FIN)

GAME REPORT


Latvia Lord It Over Poland

Latvia electrified their home crowd with a big performance against Poland in the last game of the opening day of EuroBasket Women action in Liepaja.

Riding the strong first-half performances of Anete Jekabsone-Zogota, Gunta Basko and Zane Tamane and a suffocating defense, the Baltic side stormed to an 86-52 victory.

With every steal, fast-break and made shot triggering standing ovations and the beating of drums from the passionate fans wearing red and white inside the packed Liepaja Olympic Center, the Latvians showed they will be a force to be reckoned with over the next fortnight.

Ainars Zvirgzdins' team stormed into a 12-1 lead midway through the opening quarter and never looked back.

In that opening burst of points, Tamane scored six and 2007 FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year Jekabsone-Zogota poured in four.

"The crowd was fantastic," said Jekabsone-Zogota, who finished with a game-high 20 points on nine of 16 shooting from the floor.

"It made the hairs on your arms stand on end.

"At no EuroBasket that we have played in before have I ever seen a team get the kind of support that we had tonight."

With five minutes still remaining in the first half, Latvia were in complete command at 36-16.

Basko had nine of her 18 points before the intermission.

Poland made a desperate attempt to get back into the game but Latvia put the defensive clamps on them whenever they tried to get the ball anywhere near the basket to center Ewelina Kobryn.

The Poles ended up shooting just 28% from the field in the first half, including eight of 26 inside the arc.

A bad night got even worse early in the third quarter when Poland lost their superstar Agnieszka Bibrzycka to a badly sprained left ankle.

The injury could end up knocking her out for the rest of the tournament.

The UMMC Ekaterinburg ace was helped to the sideline before having ice taped to her ankle to keep the swelling down.

With her left foot elevated, Bibrzycka had to remain on her back on the court while listening to fans beat Latvian drums in the stands as the home side blew her team out.

Latvia put on an incredible performance, especially when considering they don't have Ieva Kublina.

The veteran power forward is out of the tournament after failing to recover from a sprained ankle.

This much is certain.

Latvia have the fan support, and experience gained from the last two years that make them tough to beat.

They reached the Semi-Finals at the EuroBasket in Chieti and Latvia also competed at the Olympics for the first time.

"We've been playing together for many years, this team," Jekabsone-Zogota said, "and it's very easy for us when  we are coming together from our club teams. "

Greece and Hungary now face the unenviable task of going up against the Latvians in Liepaja.

The favourites in both of those games will of course be Latvia.

COACH QUOTES


Latvia vs. Poland Quotes

Ainars ZVIRGZDINS, Latvia Head Coach

"I am really happy with this first victory, especially on the home court, it is very hard to achieve. Our defense was the key point in our win. I want to thank my players and spectators as they were fantastic tonight."

Krzysztof KOZIOROWICZ, Poland Head Coach

"Latvia was better today. We expected they would play aggressively, we just needed to play our game, however it did not happened tonight. Also we have injury trouble as both of our point guards are injured. Bibrzycka is out at least for one more game, but we hope she will be ready for the Qualifying Round. This is about the team and we must continue to move forward."

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

54.0%

34/63
FG
M/A

32.2%

19/59

60.0%

30/50
FG2P
M/A

37.8%

17/45

30.8%

4/13
FG3P
M/A

14.3%

2/14

87.5%

14/16
FT
M/A

75.0%

12/16

38

9/29
RT
RO/RD

34

14/20

17

AS

6

14

TO

22

9

ST

5

2

BS

6

20

PF

20

86

Pts

52

Next Games

Latvia

Latvia

Poland

Poland