|30 July 2009|
Russia and Greece battled it out in a terrific contest in what could prove to be the pivotal game of Group C as Russia emerged victorious with a hard fought 63-54 success.
It was a performance that left Coach Anna Arkhipova delighted with her teams efforts having overcome a poor start, scoring just 8 points in the first quarter.
"It was very difficult and I want to say a big thank-you to my girls and to all of my staff in helping to win this very important game."
"I think it is always difficult for any team when it is a situation when it is minus ten points but we played hard as a team."
It was Greece who raced out of the blocks building up a 16-8 advantage in the first period as Russia suffered a nightmare offensively. The Greek team took full advantage. However as expected, Russia stormed back and by half time they had reduced the margin to just two points at 27-25.
Russia continued that good work into the third quarter and tied the gamed up quickly before racing away with an 11-2 spurt to take control at 36-29.
In a game of tangible runs, Greece then fought their way back but to their frustration, they allowed Darfya Namok to drain an open three. Things got worse as the third period drew to a close when with just one second left, the Greek defence went missing and handed Mariya-Margarita Davydova a cheap put back to give Russia a 49-43 lead.
As the fourth quarter progressed you sensed that Greece had it within their capabilities of overcoming Russia but when they got close, Russia drained an outside shot. Another crucial trey by Namok caused coach Bakogeorgos to call a much needed time out, his team trailing 56-49.
As hard as they tried, Greece couldn't get closer than six points down the stretch and as they fouled in frustration, Russia kept their heads to cruise to their first win in the tournament.
Darya Namok and Ksenia Tikhonenko combined for 28 points for the winners while Grigoria Pateraki was unfortunate to walk off the court with a loss after pouring in 21 points for Greece.
Far from thinking that their work is done, Coach Arkhipova reminded her team that there are still two very important group games still to come.
"We had to prepare very seriously for this game as I think it will be the biggest game in the group for us."
"However, we will not lose our focus in the next two games. We are always concentrating on every game."