Germany Hold Off Bulgaria In Hagen

10.01.2009

Germany survived a terrific comeback by Bulgaria on Saturday night and won their EuroBasket Women Additional Qualifying Round clash in Hagen.

In a must-win game for both sides to maintain a realistic hope of advancing to the Final Round, Alexandra Müller had 16 points for the Germans as they prevailed 68-60.

The result has left Germany at 1-1 while Bulgaria are 0-2 in Group A.

Imre Szittya's German team, beaten soundly in Ukraine (2-0) on Wednesday, were in command late in the third quarter with a 55-41 lead but the Bulgarians and their naturalized American Noel Monik Kuin fought back and pushed the hosts until the end.

Kuin, who plays for TEO Vilnius in the EuroLeague Women, hit a three-pointer and made another basket at the start of a 12-0 that closed the gap to 55-53 with 7:07 to play in the game.

After Germany's Lisa Koop made one of two at the charity stripe, Gergana Branzova-Erdenay was fouled and had an opportunity to pull Bulgaria to within one.

But she also split two from the line to leave the Germans clinging to a 56-54 advantage.

Müller responded by hitting arguably her biggest shot of the game, a three-ball with 4:00 to go to extend the lead back to five.

Though Branzova-Erdenay made a lay-up to cut the deficit to 59-56, the visitors would end up getting no closer.

Germany found it difficult to finish off the Bulgarians, however.

Kuin made two free throws to take her points haul to a game-high 22 with 2:08 to go as Bulgaria closed the gap to 62-58, and Germany then committed a shot-clock violation.

Vera Perostiyska was off target with a lay-up for Bulgaria on their next possession and Germany rebounded before pulling away for an eight-point triumph.

Germany out-rebounded Bulgaria 45-25.

For the winners, Katja Bavendam had 10 rebounds to go with her eight points.

Also for Germany, Lisa Koop had 11 points and eight rebounds and  Petra Gläser scored 12 with seven boards.

Gergana Slavcheva finished with 19 points and seven rebounds for Bulgaria.


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