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Group:  B | 30.07.2009, 15:45h
Group:  B | 30.07.2009, 15:45h
68-52
12 - 1320 - 1014 - 2022 - 9
12 - 1320 - 1014 - 2022 - 9
Venue: Naples (ITA) |
Spectators: 100 |
Referees: Vladimir Tsekov (BUL), Petros Papapetrou (GRE), Johann Jeanneau (FRA)

GAME REPORT


Finland Beat Belarus In Opener

Finland coach Harri Jokela praised his team for opening their account with an impressive 68-52 win against Belarus but has earmarked their next game against Belgium as being key to their success in the tournament.

The wily Jokela knows that recent history suggests their final group opponents Spain will provide the stiffest test and with one win now under his belt, that leaves the match-up with the Belgians as the pivotal contest.

"We know that Spain will be very difficult as will Belgium but we feel that we can win this game and we have a size advantage."

"Our strategy against Belarus was to make sure we stopped their three-point shots from dropping and by getting close to the basket for every rebound which is what happened and it as good."

On feature of this opening game for the Finns was that until the final moments, they were unable to stop Belarus getting back into the game every time after they had found themselves surging ahead. This was something that Jokela was only happy to take responsibility for.

"I think that we kept allowing Belarus to get back into the game because we were a little tired and I think that was my fault. I maybe should have used my bench more but we have many more tough games ahead to do this."

Ironically it was Belarus that had edged the first period with their star player Maryna Ivashchanka grabbing 10 points in the first 10 minutes to help her team to a 13-12 lead.

However Belarus never got started in the second quarter and a devastating 17-2 run by Finland left them 29-15 behind and staring at a heavy loss.

To their credit, they rallied and slowly fought their way back into the game at 46-43 by the end of the third.

With the game hanging in the balance midway through the final quarter, Finland sunk back to back three pointers to break the game open at 59-49.

There was no way back for an exhausted Belarus who simply gave themselves far too much to do after that disastrous and decisive start to the second period when they inexplicably went to pieces - despite 22 points from Ivashchanka.

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

44.6%

25/56
FG
M/A

31.0%

22/71

50.0%

18/36
FG2P
M/A

36.2%

21/58

35.0%

7/20
FG3P
M/A

7.7%

1/13

57.9%

11/19
FT
M/A

41.2%

7/17

47

12/35
RT
RO/RD

38

19/19

9

AS

8

24

TO

18

10

ST

10

0

BS

3

17

PF

22

68

Pts

52

Next Games

Finland

Finland

Belarus

Belarus