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Group:  E | 11.06.2009, 15:15h
Group:  E | 11.06.2009, 15:15h
56-65
8 - 1420 - 812 - 2116 - 22
8 - 1420 - 812 - 2116 - 22
Venue: Riga (LAT) |
Spectators: 200 |
Referees: Marko Juras (SRB), Peter Bodnar (HUN), Marius Ciulin (ROU)

GAME REPORT


Slovakia Survive Bibrzycka Outburst

Slovakia survived a first-half offensive onslaught from Agnieszka Bibrzycka and beat Poland in the opening Qualifying Round game of the EuroBasket Women on Thursday in Riga.

Bibrzycka, playing at full throttle for the first time since spraining her left ankle in Sunday's Group B defeat to Latvia, erupted for 18 of her game-high 27 points before half-time but Slovakia charged back after the intermission and prevailed 65-56.
9. Agnieszka Bibrzycka (Poland)
Bibrzycka scored 18 points in the first half, finishing with 27 for the game.


Slovakia's veteran point guard Zuzana Zirkova of Gambrinus Sika Brno had 20 points.

Victory came at a cost, however. Sharpshooter Ivana Jalcova suffered an injury to a finger on her left hand.

After scoring three straight baskets late in the third quarter to give the Slovakians a 41-37 lead and put them in front for good, the Broker Kosice star left the game and did not return.

"I have to go to the hospital now, but we think it's broken," Jalcova said as she left the arena after the game.

"I hope that's not the case, but it hurts."

In a battle of teams that each won two games in Liepaja, Slovakia opened a 14-3 lead with Martina Gyurcsi scoring six of her 16 points in the game.

Poland coach Krzysztof Koziorowicz made substitutions and the tough-as-nails Paulina Pawlak, Agata Gajda and Joanna Walich tightened up the defense while Biba poured in the points.

The Poles reeled off 13 straight points, with Bibrzycka - aka Biba - pouring in 11, to lead 16-14.

Bibrzycka's fourth three-pointer of the half gave Poland a 28-22 advantage at the break and Poland appeared to be in control.

Poland were still in front at 35-28 midway through the third quarter when Zirkova nailed her team's first three of the game.

Anna Jurcenkova (11pts, 7rbs) followed with a basket and then added two free throws to knot the contest at 35-35.

A key play happened shortly after.

Biba drove in for a lay-up and received a hard foul by Lucia Kupcikova. Looking as if she had aggravated her ankle injury, Poland's best player limped off the court.

Daria Mieloszynska entered the game to take Bibrzycka's free throws and made both, only for Jalcova to then take over.

She caught a pass on the left, drove baseline and scored with a reverse lay-up before burying jump shots on Slovakia's next two trips down the floor.

"I didn't play that much in the first half," said Jalcova, who missed most of last season while recovering from knee surgery.

"I only played five minutes and I really wanted to come out and help my team."

Bibrzycka returned to the game and made one of two free throws to cut the deficit to 43-40 at the end of the frame.

"We played the first half as we were supposed to play but the game lasts 40 minutes and at the end we didn't do a good job," Koziorowicz said.

"We weren't focused in the third quarter. Maybe tiredness affected the players."

Zirkova started the fourth quarter with jumper and Gyurcsi followed with a three-pointer as Slovakia looked to take a firm grip on the game.

A Zirkova jumper gave Slovakia their biggest lead at 55-42 with 6:04 to go, but Poland weren't done.

After Zirkova hit a second three-pointer in which the ball hit the back of the rim and bounced straight up before falling through the hoop for a 61-50 Slovakia lead, the Poles made their move.

Magdalena Leciejewska made a pair of free throws and both Justyna Jeziorna and Mieloszynska scored on lay-ups to trim the deficit to 61-56.

Pokey Chatman, the Slovakia coach, called a timeout and when play resumed, Slovakia caught a break after a missed lay-up when Bibrzycka committed one of her six turnovers in transition.

Jurcenkova replied with two straight baskets as Slovakia sealed a 65-56 win.

"In the final minutes, we tried to play full-court defense but it didn't work," Koziorowicz said.

"We missed easy shots. Slovakia did a good job on offense and that's why they won. We have to congratulate them."

Poland finished with 23 turnovers and they were also out-rebounded 43-38.

Of Slovakia's 15 steals, Gyurcsi led the team with four while Katerina Hrickova, Jana Carnoka and Kupcikova had three apiece.

Slovakia finished just three of 18 from long range but Poland weren't much better at four of 17 with all of those coming from Bibrzycka in the first half.

"It was a good win for us," Chatman said.

"We started the game really well. We then hit then a dry spell and allowed their best player to score easy baskets.

"After the break, we really worked on our defense and we were able to come out stronger physically and psychologically."

COACH QUOTES


Poland vs. Slovak Republic Quotes

Pokey CHATMAN, Slovakia Head Coach

"We started the game really well offensively and defensively, but didn't play so well at the end of the first half. However, we improved our performance in the second half and won.  The hosts here have been great. Unfortunately for us, they have a great team and we are really looking forward to the next game (against Latvia)."

Krzysztof KOZIOROWICZ, Poland Head Coach

"In the first half we played like we were supposed to play, but the game is 40 minutes long and we lost concentration in the second half. We had Mielozynska shooting three-points shots, but we didn't succeed. We have to forget about this game, we still have two games and a chance to qualify for the Quarter-Final Round."

Accumulated statistics

32.7%

17/52
FG
M/A

37.0%

27/73

37.1%

13/35
FG2P
M/A

43.6%

24/55

23.5%

4/17
FG3P
M/A

16.7%

3/18

81.8%

18/22
FT
M/A

100.0%

8/8

38

14/24
RT
RO/RD

43

21/22

9

AS

10

24

TO

19

9

ST

15

1

BS

4

12

PF

19

56

Pts

65

PHOTO GALLERY

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