|Nevena Jovanovic and Serbia prevailed in a scrappy affair on Monday|
By Joe Hewison
Turning Point: Ivanka Matic pulled down a big offensive rebound before laying in at the second attempt despite being fouled. Matic then converted the extra free throw and Nevena Jovanovic added another two on the fast break moments later to stretch Serbia's lead to five (55-50) with four minutes to play.
Stats Don't Lie: Latvia missed all 17 of their three-point attempts after hitting their first one in the opening period.
Game Hero: Once again Jelena Milovanovic carried the bulk of the scoring responsibility for Serbia. The forward top-scored with a team-high 15 points including nine of her 10 free throws, many of which came down the stretch.
Serbia snatched Group C's last spot in the second round with a 62-56 win over Latvia after a scrappy contest in Trelaze.
It was a close game throughout as both sides traded baskets, and blunders, but ultimately Serbia deserved their victory as Latvia struggled to execute on offence late in the game.
Latvia had two opportunities to tie or at least cut the deficit within the last two minutes but committed unforgivable turnovers on both occasions.
Anete Steinberga was one of their best performers scoring 11 points and pulling down eight boards, to help rectify the rebounding problems that plagued them on day one and two.
But it is the late mistakes that will stick in her mind.
"It was a tough loss today," she said. "We were fighting really tough and then we had some turnovers at the end and I think that is where we lost because I thought our rebounding game was much better than the last two days."
For Serbia, Jelena Milovanovic was ice-cool under pressure as she sank a series of free throws late in the game.
But her coach, Marina Maljkovic, knows improvements must be made before round two.
Maljkovic said: "It was very hard for us to come back today and play a decisive game.
"We are not happy about the way we played today. My players and I aren't happy. We are aware that we had mistakes and that we can play much better next round. And we are going to play much better in the next round."
Milovanovic's 15-point haul was bettered only by Latvia's Kristine Karklina, who had 17 as well as eight rebounds.
But Serbia's leading light will need help if they are to progress beyond the second stage.
"We lost two easy balls in the last two minutes and that was the finish for our team. Looking to the future I know we have six or seven young players, who we can build a team around."
Latvia player Anete Steinberga
"It was a tough loss today. We were fighting really tough and then we had some turnovers at the end and I think that is where we lost because I thought our rebounding game was much better than the last two days."
Serbia Head Coach Marina Maljkovic
"The team was very nervous about coming to the European Championships, then we had that very disappointing loss against Great Britain, which is a very good team and people don't know their true strength.
"We could have played much better against France on the second day. It was very hard to come back today and play a decisive game. We are not happy with how we played today but happy we won."
Serbia player Milica Dabovic
"It was a tough game. We didn't have anything to lose and we were sure that we needed to win the game and we gave all our heart on the court and we are happy that we won."