Slovakia Coach Rues Missed Chances


Slovakia women's coach Vladimir Karnay believes his team underestimated rivals Israel after missing out on a place at EuroBasket Women on Friday night.

Karnay's team lost 84-71 to Israel in the additional qualifying tournament on Wednesday - a result which ultimately cost them a place at the finals in Italy.

Slovakia edged Poland 76-74 in Lanciano on Friday, but their win was not by a big enough margin to advance and the berth went instead to Israel.

Karnay was in no doubt as to where his side had lost their chance.

He told "I am very disappointed. We played very badly against Israel.

"Their heads were probably in the right place but it looked like their blood did not flow in their bodies. They backed away from taking responsibility. All players - except (Anna) Jurcenkova and (Zuzana) Zirkova - played very badly.

"We made many substitutions but it did not help. You can see how we played from the statistics. For example, (Ivana) Jalcova made one basket from 11 shots, (Luisa) Michulkova did not have a shot all game, etc.

"We reduced out opponents' advantage to 64-65 in the last quarter and Luptakova missed two shots in a row from the paint.

"The Israel players played simple basketball. They had much better shooting because we played very badly in defence.

"The most important mistake of our team in this game was in their minds.

"Everybody expected us to win after two wins over this opponent in friendly games before qualification. Our players thought it would be an easy game but we lost it after our own mistakes."

Karnay took little consolation from the fact his side wrapped up their campaign with victory over the Poles.

"I am not satisfied at all despite our win against Poland," he added. "I will be disappointed until the end of my life.

"We played better against Poland - we played great basketball in the third quarter but it was not enough."

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