Sweden Celebrate Semi-Final Qualification

27 July 2006

Swedish Basketball is on the rise. That's the feeling among the supporters, players and coaching staff at the Umcor U18 Europen Championship Women as the team celebrated an 82-69 victory over Bulgaria.

The win not only qualifies Sweden for Saturday's final, but guarantees a berth at next year's FIBA U19 World Championship for Women.

For coach Mikael Johansson, success in Tenerife can lay a foundation for the future of Swedish basketball.

Elin Eldebrink (Sweden)
Elin Eldebrink scored 20 points and dished 5 assists for Sweden
"This is very important for Swedish basketball. There are so many who are backing us up from home and want very much that we can get our nation on the basketball map," he told

"We have been in a losing tradition so if one team does well, we can see its possible and build on that."

His team's performance in Tenerife is also attracting much needed attention from the national press.

"Television and radio stations are calling every day. So I think we can get more youngsters to start playing basketball which would be great. We dont have much media coverage because we are a small sport in Sweden, but now people are talking and its just juniors. It's very important for us."

Although they were the favourites going into the game, it took Sweden a while to find their feet.

It wasn't until the end of the second quarter that they were able to build any kind of lead.

The Eldebrink twins combined for 6 points in a 12-4 run at the end of the quarter which gave Sweden a 45-37 halftime lead.

Sweden stretched their lead to double digits in the third quarter and closed out what proved to be a comfortable victory.

Sweden's win was due in no small measure to the performance of the Eldebrinks who combined for 44 points, 11 assists and 7 steals.

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