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Group:  A | 07.06.2009, 18:00h
Group:  A | 07.06.2009, 18:00h
59-66
23 - 149 - 1815 - 1912 - 15
23 - 149 - 1815 - 1912 - 15
Venue: Liepaja |
Spectators: 1200 |
Referees: Gianluca Mattioli (ITA), Jasmina Juras (SRB), Fedor Dmitriev (BLR)

GAME REPORT


Spain Hold Off Determined Czechs

Spain avoided an opening day upset at the hands of the Czech Republic at the EuroBasket Women with a narrow 66-59 triumph in Liepaja.

One of the best teams in Europe since 2001 after capturing bronze medals three times and a silver two years ago in Italy, the Spanish ground out a victory without their inspirational veteran Amaya Valdemoro.

The most valuable player of the EuroBasket Women in 2007 is still ailing with a calf injury and doesn't expect to play in the other two Group A games against Ukraine or Slovakia.

Her veteran Ros Casares teammates Anna Montanana and Elisa Aguilar, young center Laura Nicholls of Celta Indepo and the emerging star Anna Cruz of Olesa Espanyol provided just enough firepower in the win.

Montanana had 16 points, Cruz 12, Nicholls 11 and Aguilar 10.

Evidence of Spain's hard times came three minutes into the second half when Cindy Lima picked up her fifth foul and walked forlornly over to the bench.

"We've been struggling, and we're without one of our best players, Amaya," Montanana said.

"Hopefully we're going to start playing better."

"You don't know how much this is killing me," Valdemoro said.

"I'm sitting on the bench for 40 minutes and watching everything. I can't wait to get back out there."

Spain fought all the way back from a 23-14 deficit at the end of the first quarter and knotted the contest at 32-32 by half-time.

The Czechs, enduring their own struggles without veterans Hana Horakova and Ivana Vecerova, raced back into a 39-32 lead early in the third quarter with Eva Viteckova, Petra Kulichova and Katerina Bartonova pouring in the points.

Montanana and Aguilar hit three-pointers in a 6-1 run that put the brakes on the Czech run, however.

Alba Torrens then buried a shot from the arc with 3:24 to go in the quarter for a 45-42 lead and Spain had the lead for good although the game hung in the balance until the final minutes.

After going in front in the final quarter by seven points, Spain watched as the Czechs battled back.

With 1:16 remaining, the Czech veteran sharpshooter Eva Viteckova went to the free-throw line with her team trailing 62-59.

The Gambrinus Sika Brno ace made the first but missed the second. The Czechs rebounded and had a chance to tie or go in front but Katerina Elhotova's jumper was off target.

Free throws by Aguilar, Laia Palau and Nicholls calmed the Spanish nerves.

"We're missing two key players with Ivana and Hana," Viteckova said.

"We played well against Spain and we stayed in the game until the end and even had a chance to win.
But we have a young team. At least from this EuroBasket we'll get experience for next year when we host the World Championship."
 

COACH QUOTES


Spain vs. Czech Republic Quotes

Cindy LIMA, Spain Center

"This is difficult championship, teams are equal, and often we don`t know what to expect. We want to fight for medals and we go game after game. I think our young players did a pretty good job, they have very good attitude and we are proud about our young players."

Eva VITECKOVA, Czech Republic

"We played well against Spain and we stayed in the game until the end and even had a chance to win. But we have a young team. At least from this EuroBasket we'll get experience for next year when we host the World Championship."

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

41.8%

23/55
FG
M/A

32.4%

24/74

48.7%

19/39
FG2P
M/A

37.0%

20/54

25.0%

4/16
FG3P
M/A

20.0%

4/20

56.3%

9/16
FT
M/A

60.9%

14/23

41

6/35
RT
RO/RD

47

20/27

10

AS

10

17

TO

9

2

ST

16

3

BS

0

19

PF

17

59

Pts

66

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