Ukraine On The Verge After Close Win


Ukraine have taken a huge step towads EuroBasket Women after edging out Bulgaria 67-61 in a tense game in Kiev in the additional qualifying round.

Bulgaria kept it close right to the end, but the hosts eventually pulled it out with a 6-0 run to close the game in the final minute.

Olexandra Gorbunova was the star of the show with 32 points and 10 rebounds for the hosts.

The win moves Ukraine to 3-0 in the standings, and although Germany can still catch them mathematically, Ukraine's strong record against the Germans will have Volodymyr Bryukhovetskiy confident of advancing.

In a close game, Ukraine could not find a way to shake off the Bulgarians down the stretch.

Olena Zherzherunova's three-pointer put Ukraine on top 61-56 with 3:24 to go, but Noel Monik Kuin responded with a three ball of her own to cut the gap back to two.

After a turnover from each team, Lyubov Alyoshkina missed a jump shot for Ukraine, and the visitors took it down the other end where Zornitza Kostova tied it, 61-61, with a jumper after Kuin rebounded Daniela Peteva's miss.

Ukraine called a time-out but Alyoshkina missed the shot coach Bryukhovetskiy drew up.

But after Bulgaria's Nataliya Topalova-Shopova was called for an offensive foul, Iryna Biryuk put Ukraine back in front with a lay-up 53 seconds from time.

Peteva missed a jumper for Bulgaria and Ukraine's lead was four as Gorbunova made another lay-up.

Zherzherunova then iced the win with a pair of free throws.

Ol'ga Duborvina had 16 points for Ukraine and Zherzherovina finished with 12.

Kuin led Bulgaria with 16 points while Vera Perostiyska had 10.

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