Czechs Battle For Top Spot

02 October 2007
By David Hein

Defending champions Czech Republic can clinch first place in Group E qualifying round of the 2007 EuroBasket Women with a victory over Belgium in Vasto.

Both sides are 3-1 and looking to get the best placement possible for Thursday's quarter-finals.

Ann Wauters (Belgium)
Wauters was dominant against Latvia but Belgium still lost.
The Belgians, however, are not even secured first place if they hand the Czechs their second defeat in three games.

Latvia holds the tie-breaker with Belgium following their victory on Sunday.

Last Time Out: Belgium suffered their first loss of the tournament, falling 69-66 to Latvia while the Czech Republic rebounded from their loss to Germany by knocking off Lithuania, 75-67.

Key Match-Up: Petra  Kulichova vs Ann Wauters- Belgium's superstar missed a chance at the buzzer against Latvia to send the game into over-time. She will be extra motivated against the Czechs and will have to be stopped by Kulichova.

X-Factor: Anke De Mondt- The Belgian off guard would be well to take example from Lithuania's Sandra Vuluzyte, who stymied the Czech guards for seven steals. But De Mondt will have to bounce back from a tough game against Latvia, in which she was unable to slow down Anete Jekobsone-Zogota and fouled out with just eight points.

Key Stat: 38-24- Belgium were out-rebounded by that margin in their loss to Latvia. Belgian coach Laurent Buffard knows his side must do a better job on the boards against the Czechs.

Sounding Off: Wauters: “Every team goes through a stretch like that during a tournament of nine games. So I think the Czech Republic is still one of the best teams by far. So we have to be really concentrated to beat them.”


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