Battle For Bronze

07.10.2007

By David Hein

Belarus and Latvia are both banged up and tired from a long 2007 EuroBasket Women but both sides need to recover and re-focus just one more time in order to capture their greatest result ever - the bronze medal.

The Belorussians are playing in their first ever EuroBasket Women and have exceeded any expectations they may have had coming in while Latvia also come into Sunday's game

Sviatlana Volnaya (Belarus)
For Volnaya and Belarus bronze would be a huge accomplishment.
looking to top off their unexpected run to the semi-finals.

Both teams have accomplished their goal of at least reaching the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament and now it will be decided which team brings home the hardware.

Last Time Out: Belarus were battered by Spain 70-54 while Latvia were rampaged by Russia 67-34.

Key Match-Up: Liene Jansone vs Anastasiya Veremeenko- With Latvia ravaged with injuries, Ainars Zvirgzdins's team will likely rely on Jansone to pick up much of the scoring slack. She will also need to keep Veremeenko away from the basket as the 20-year-old has averaged 9.6 points on 71% shooting while grabbing 8.1 rebounds.

X-Factor: Latvia's injuries- One would be hard pressed to find a Latvian starter not banged up. The worst of the bunch are Ieva Tare and Gunta Basko, neither of whom are expected to play. Latvian star Anete Jakebsone-Zogota is suffering from a sore knee and ankle, Ieva Kublina is also labouring with an ankle concern and Zane Eglite may be unavailable as well.

Key Stat: Taking away Jansone's 8.9 points, the Latvian bench has scored an average of just 8.5 points in the tournament. They must now step up if Latvia's starters are unable to go.

Sounding Off: Belarus forward Sviatlana Volnaya: "Bronze would definitely mean a lot to us. We're a bit banged up as well. But I think we can suck it up for one more game. Definitely the first thing for us is defense. We have to stop Jakebsone. She's a great scorer for them. And we have to stop our turnovers. They've really been hurting us."


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