by Paul Nilsen
Russia show no sign of letting up and continue to look a realistic medal prospect as they returned from the rest day to record a fourth win in five days with a brutal 90-52 demolition of Lithuania.
Coach Anna Arkhipova Von Kalmanovich pin-pointed the team ethic of Russia as one of the features that could yet see them make the final podium.
"It was a normal game for us but the Lithuanian team played very well in the beginning until we managed to find some really active defence which made a big difference in the game."
"I want to thank my girls because I thought they were really good today and played good defence in the game as a team."
"I thought they were all at the same level and that helped us."
"We showed that we want to not have just one or two stars but we ant to build a team and this is important at all levels of our game in Russia."
If there is one small area for improvement for Russia it has to be their first quarter performances and inability to get off to a good start in games. While this has not proved to be an issue so far, it could certainly do so down the stretch of the tournament.
Russia allowed Lithuania to get 11-4 in front, holding their opponents to just two scores in nine minutes. Russia at least did make sure it was not something that affected them across the entire first half by dominating in the early stages of the second quarter.
Trailing 11-9, they opened up with a 14-4 run inside four minutes, Anna Khemelevskaya scoring five points in a row during the burst from both inside and outside. In fact it turned into a sublime second quarter as they ended up outscoring Lithuania by 29-14 to take a 39-25 advantage into the second half.
|Alina Zamaraeva scored all her 10 points in only 14 minutes of action to underline Russia's depth|
One again it was depth that did the damage, all but one player managing to get onto the score sheet in the first half while defence, hard work and some solid shooting and finishing all helped.
Also important was the refusal of Lithuania to go away from their approach of getting to the hoop which has proved fruitful for them against softer interior teams such as Germany.
It proved a far different prospect against the tougher and much bigger Russian team and Lithuania just didn't have the shooters taking only 2 outside shots in 20 minutes making them look a little predictable at times.
With Russia simply overpowering their opponents in all areas of the floor, the situation gradually deteriorated for Lithuania and eventually it became a rout as Khemelevskaya, Zamaraeva, Knyyazeva and Tikhonenko all posted double figure scores.
Despite being unbeaten and with an easy looking game with Poland tomorrow, Coach Arkhipova Von Kalmanovich will not be tempted to change her approach or give any time off to key players with a game against France on Wednesday.
"I will not rest any of my players against Poland for the game with France because all of my girls play the same minutes."
"No players on my team will play even 30 minutes because we want to have a team and I don't believe in doing it any other way."