By Yarone Arbel
Day seven of EuroBasket Women 2007 showed another improvement in the turnovers department, the pride of Russia playing a big part, Serbia falling asleep again and Italy's team play taking full advantage of that.
The Good News
Italy's Team Game – Italy scored only 64 points but still won by a margin of 21. They deserve a lot of credit not only for their effort in every game but also for the team play w
hich showed when six players scored between nine and 13 in their win. Nevertheless that was still not the most outstanding number from their win. Raffaella Masciadri spent almost 28 minutes on court and didn't score a single point. She even missed all her five shots but still played a key part and her contribution was precious. How? She did anything but score close to perfection. 10 rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and no turnovers. Needless to say a great effort on defense and the small things on offense to help her team-mates. Masciadri set an example for any player out there who catches cold hands. Italy and their team-game enabled her to excel despite the bad offensive day.
|Celine Dumerc and France were one of several teams struggling from three-point range.|
Big Team Pride – When a big athlete or team go down there are two options – they either keep playing bad the following game or they try to show the whole world it was a temporary set back and smash their next opponent. Russia showed they are made of the second material. Belarus didn't stand a chance. It's not just the early double-digit lead or the 28 point differene at the end of the third quarter. Despite allowing Belarus to save some dignity in the last quarter, Russia still doubled Belarus under the rims with 50 rebounds compared to 25 for their opponents and hit almost 72% from two-point range by the end of the third. Next time you meet Russia after a shocking loss, be afraid, be very afraid.
Another Good Turnovers Day – Second day in a row with a big improvement in the turnovers department. Serbia turned it over 16 times in their big defeat to Italy and that's the highest number we saw yesterday. The other five teams turned it over between 10 and 15 times even those who lost big.
The Bad News
Aim, Shoot, Hit? – Six teams took the court yesterday but four of them really struggled from long range. Spain, France, Russia and Serbia hit only twice from long range. While the first two took only nine shots the later stepped off court having attempted 21 (Serbia) and 18 (Russia).
Too Many Easy Points - At the end of the third quarter in the game between Russia and Belarus the favorites from Russia were still looking for their first three-pointer. Somehow they weren't very worried despite missing all their first 11 attempts from long range, probably because they already held a 28 point lead. As meniotned before Russia shot in 71.8% from two point range until that point while Belarus stood on poor 26.9%. It's no wonder three-pointers weren't a necessity for Russia. Belarus allowed too many easy points close to the basket.
Serbia's Wake Up Call – In Group E Germany beat the favoured Czechs only to lose the next game to Latvia. The same case happened yesterday in the parallel group when Serbia, after shocking Russia on the first day, couldn't match Italy and lost by 21 points. This is the second time the Serbs, who scored only 43 points in the entire game and had their top scorer stand on seven points, fell apart after a great display. In the preliminary round they smashed Croatia and nearly beat Spain only to lose to Belarus by 26 points. Those two big losses will probably keep Serbia out of the final round, unless they manage to beat France on the last day by a big margin. Hopefully, for 2009 Serbia will know to stay focused during the tournament, and make the most of the team's potential.