Belgium 83 Ukraine 67

24.09.2003

Bel-Ukr02.jpg
Ann Wauters had 30 points and 15 rebounds against Ukraine
Belgium's first mission at the European Championships was to battle their way into the quarter-finals.

Their second was to spring a major upset and then dream of winning a medal.

The first was accomplished on Wednesday afternoon with a 83-67 triumph over the Ukraine, a result which secured fourth place in Group B for Belgium ahead of Hungary.

The success was their second of the competition and means that Hungary can't reach the quarter-finals even with a victory over Slovakia on Wednesday night since they lost to Belgium (72-67).

The games teams play against each other are used as the first tie-breaker when teams are level on wins at the end off the group stage.

The loss completed a nightmare week for the Ukraine, who lost all five of their group games.

Their losing streak started on opening day when Eva Seres hit a three-pointer with time running out to give Hungary a victory over the Ukraine.

Their agony continued on Tuesday when led unbeaten Spain at half-time, only to fall apart in the second half.

Belgium, who are in the European Championships for the first time since 1985, were well aware of the dangers they posed.

An upset looked as if it might be on the cards when Yuli Korzhenevska came up with a steal and a fast-break to pull the Ukraine to within 47-45 early in the third quarter but Belgium managed to keep their noses in front, thanks particularly to Ann Wauters.

The 6ft 4in centre immediately went to the other end, made a basket and was fouled on the play. She sank the free throw for a five-point lead.

Wauters would end up pouring in a game-high 30 points on nine of 16 shooting from the field, and 12 of 13 from the free throw line. She also had 15 rebounds.

Belgium led 58-47 lead with 10 minutes to play and a desperate Ukraine, who made nine of 18 three-pointers against Spain, failed to hit the mark.

They missed four threes in the fourth quarter and were just one of 14 in the game and 20 of 69 (29%) from the field over all.


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