EUROBASKET WOMEN 2015
Greece scored only 26 points in the second half of their semi-final first leg clash with Israel in the EuroBasket Women 2015 1st Qualification Round, but held on for a 69-57 win and have the first say in the tie.
Playing at home, the Greeks showed great intensity right from tip-off and made the most of their superiority on the glass to lead 21-15 at the end of the first quarter.
Israel looked set to balance the encounter when they came within two points, 25-23, on a Liron Cohen lay-up midway through the second frame, but suffered a monumental collapse in the final five minutes of the period.
The hosts used an 18-4 run in that stretch to transform the slim two-point advantage into a comfortable 43-27 cushion at half-time, having out-rebounded Israel 19-9 up until that point (38-26 at the end).
Greece returned to the court after the interval determined to strike the fatal blow and took their biggest lead in the game, 51-29, on a Pelagia Papamichail lay-up with 6:38 left to play in the third quarter.
Michal Epstein and Shay Doron however took the initiative for the guests and quickly reduced the gap by half, 55-44, with 22 seconds on the clock to the end of the frame.
Artemis Spanou scored Greece's last points in the encounter from the free throw line with a little over three minutes remaining to the final buzzer, and while the Greeks did not have much more left in the tank, they forced Israel to waste vital possessions and prevented them from reducing the gap to single digits.
Spanou paved the way for the winners with a double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds, Katerina Sotiriou finished with 13 points and eight boards, whilst Olga Chatzinikolaou also added 13 points.
For Israel, Epstein had 19 points and five rebounds in defeat.
The return leg of the tie takes place in Israel on Tuesday.