Latvia Free Throw Horror Show As Poles Reach Final


Poland survived a major scare against Latvia on Saturday to book their place in the final of the A.C.I. Trading Limited U20 European Championship Women in Brno.

Poland prevailed 55-53 but only after their Baltic opponents failed to cash in on chances to pull level at the end.

In a game that was close from start to finish - Latvia enjoyed the biggest lead of the game at 41-35 late in the third quarter - Poland could have delivered a knockout punch with 14 seconds remaining.

Poland's 17-year-old point guard Anna Pietrzak was fouled by Lasma Jekabsone and went to the line with the Poles leading 54-52.

Pietrzak made the first, but then missed the second and Latvia claimed possession, needing just a three-pointer to tie the contest.

Instead of launching a shot from the arc, however, Poland forward Katarzyna Krezel fouled Santa Dreimane to put the Latvian on the line with 10 seconds left.

A frantic sequence of events followed.

Anita Teilane (Latvia)
Anita Teilane
Dreimane made the first, but missed the second.

Poland failed to box out, allowing Latvia's Aija Brumermane to grab the offensive rebound and take a potential game-tying jump shot.

She missed, but while battling for the rebound, Izabela Piekarska of Poland fouled Latvian centre Anita Teilane and put her on the line with four seconds remaining.

Make both, and Latvia tie the game and almost certainly send it to overtime.

However, Teilane, who had earlier failed to convert two chances from the line, missed both again and this time Piekarska rebounded and ran out the clock.

Latvia's players are not going to sleep well after this defeat because their woeful free throw shooting cost them dear.

In the game, they were an appalling nine of 22 (40.9%).

Katarzyna Czubak of Poland and Elina Zike of Latvia led their respective teams with 10 points.

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