Late Rally Propels Serbia & Montenegro

10 August 2006

Serbia & Montenegro mounted a late surge to beat Belarus 83-71 to stay in the hunt for a place in the semi-finals of the Termosteps U16 European Championship Women.

Leading by only a point with less than half the final quarter remaining, the Serbo-Montenegrins pulled away to bounce back in style from Tuesday's 88-56 thrashing by defending champions Spain in their quarter-final Group E opener.

Belarus, who also lost their opener to France, led 28-18 three minutes into the second quarter but were unable to prevent their opponents roaring into a 38-36 half-time lead.

They increased that to 57-51 at the end of the third quarter but Belarus staged a fightback of their own to close to 64-63.

However, that was as near as as they got as Serbia & Montenegro stepped on the accelerator.

Nevena Jovanovic led the way with 22 points and two assists, with team mate Sara Krnjic grabbing 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Katsiaryna Kashlei was Belarus` top scorer with 14 points.

Aurime Rinkeviciute (Lithuania)
Aurime Rinkeviciute scored 31 in Lithuania's win.
Belarus must now beat Spain in Thursday`s final group game with Spain to stand any chance of qualifying, while Serbia & Montenegro could still make it even if they lose their last game to France.

The same applies to Lithuania - beaten 73-58 by Poland on Wednesday - who defeated Ukraine 75-58 thanks to a virtuoso display by Aurime  Rinkeviciute.

The point guard poured in a massive 31 points, eight rebounds, four assists and seven steals to top the charts in all four disciplines for her side.

It was a feat almost matched by Ukraine small forward Olesya Malashenko, who had 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven steals in a losing cause.

After leading 6-3 midway through the first quarter, Ukraine - who lost their Group F opener 71-61 against the Czech Republic - were never in contention.

They were 44-37 down at half-time and 56-44 behind going into the final quarter, finally going down by 17 points.

Like Belarus in Group E, they must now beat Poland on Thursday to avoid crashing out of the tournament.

The Czech Republic handed out an 85-50 spanking to their Polish counterparts.

Only Olivia Tomialowicz showed any resistance for the Poles with a points haul of 15. She was pipped to topscoring honours by Katerina Bartonova who poured in 16 for the victors.

The closest quarter was the first which the Czechs took 14-11 while they dominated the second and third before easing up a little in the fourth.

Spain, looking for a third consecutive title, had Marta Xargay to thank for a 65-60 win over France in a rerun of the last final.

Xargay poured in 24 points and hauled down six points for the Spaniards who won only one quarter - the third - but did so by a nine-point margin which would prove the difference.

Notable in defeat for France were Laurie Datchy with 16 points and Diandra Tchatchouang with 11 rebounds.

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