By Yarone Arbel
The first day in Group F allowed Good News Bad News to focus on the huge last quarter of Milica Dabovic, the failure of Russia to take over the game again and again and the small things that won the games for Spain and France.
The Good News
Dabovic's last quarter show – Milica Dabovic was by far the MVP in the big win over Russia. She left no room for hesitations with 28 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals, zero turnovers and of course a crazy game-winning shot, but digging into the smaller details makes her even bigger than it seems at first glance. Serbia scored 20 points in the last quarter, and Dabovic had 15 of them. She started the last quarter with one out of two from the line and an assist, which makes her responsible for 17 out of Serbia's 20, but started the real show only with 7:30 to go. Out of Serbia's 14 field goal attempts in the quarter she took seven and hit five of them. This means she still left room for others, but
when she had to she took control, the sign of a true winner.
|Veremeenko was impressive for Belarus but couldn't come up with big shots when they needed them.|
France's focus - It's not often you see a team finish a game with only one three-pointer, allow 18 offensive rebounds and get outrebounded by a total of 10 and still score a double- digit win. France managed to do it because they focused on the important things. They forced six more turnovers, dished exactly six more assists and hit seven more times from two-point range. If you're looking for the 12 point margin it hides in those places.
Spain's Difference – The Spain-Italy game was decided already at half time. Spain held a 47-32 lead and kept that margin until the very end. By the end of the first half Italy had shot 12 out of 16 from two-point range (75%) and usually that's enough to at least be close to your opponent. However, Spain was equal to the task hitting 13 out of 17. What made the difference was the shots outside the arc where Spain hit four more than Italy and at a much higher percentage.
The Bad News
Hot hand lesson – Belarus' Anastasiya Veremeenko finished the game against France making all of her seven field goals in addition to nine rebounds. The only problem was they didn't come when they were most needed. Belarus started the last quarter down by four, but couldn't manage more than three points for the next seven minutes. In that period of time the hottest hand of Belarus that night was either on the bench or on court but didn't take even a single shot.
Russian execution – After a great shooting show against Greece the Russians once again struggled from long range. 39:40 into the game they were zero out of eight from long range. In the last 20 seconds Olga Arteshina hit two in a row, and that's how Russia almost stole the game. Russia also went one out five from the charity stripe in the last quarter.
Taking control- When a team has made a comeback from a big deficit there's always a moment where they have a chance to take control. It's a key psychological moment that changes momentum and often decides games. Russia got back into the game midway through the third quarter but never managed to make that extra play to take the lead or force a tie (until it was too late). Russia had the ball with the difference between 1-3 points on at least 11 occasions but missed nine times from either range and made two turnovers before, finally tying the game with 10 seconds to go but it was too late.