Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia Keep EuroBasket Women Hopes Alive

22 August 2005

Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia will all have the chance to grab the final EuroBasket Women spot after after securing wins in their respective groups of the Additional Qualifying Round on Sunday night.

The 3 teams will play each other in the Additional Qualifying Tournament, which will take place 28-30 August in Bursa, Turkey.

The winner of that tournament will then join Latvia, Germany, Greece, France and Czech Republic in Group A of the final round which will also be played in Bursa.

Ukraine looked the most convincing side in the Additional Qualifying Round, completing a 5-1 record with an easy victory over Croatia, 97-63, on Sunday night.

Olexandra Gorbunova (Ukraine)
Ukraine's Olexandra Gorbunova
Other than a 67-69 reverse against Israel, Ukraine were not seriously tested by any of their opponents.

The emergence of Olexandra Gorbunova as a legitimate senior team threat was a key factor for Ukraine.

Gorbunova has consistently been Europe's top young player in the last 2 years, winning MVP honours at the 2004 U18 and U20 European Championships and repeating that feat in 2005 at the U20 competition.

At just 19 years old, she has already become Ukraine's main offensive weapon and led the team in scoring in their 6 games with 17.5ppg while also pulling down 9.8 rpg.

In Group A, a Margo Dydek-less Poland had to beat Finland by 14 points in their final game to claim top spot in the group.

The Polish managed that feat, in spite of the absence of the 213 cm Dydek who after playing 2 games returned to her WNBA side, winning 74-41.

Young center Ewelina Kobryn stepped up in Dydek's place to lead her side with 14 points and 6 rebounds.

Slovakia scraped through in top place in Group B, but only after a nervy loss to Belgium.

Slovakia's superior points difference in the group ensured that anything other than a huge loss would mean qualification to the Additional Qualifying Tournament.

Nonetheless, the coaching staff will no doubt have been displeased with the 56-61 scoreline.

The Slovaks suffered a miserable night on offense, shooting just 29% from the floor and had no answer for Belgium's Nele Deyaert who racked up 17 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals.

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