By Cindy Garcia-Bennett
Spain are hoping they will be a fourth-time lucky when they face surprise package Belarus in the EuroBasket Women semi-finals on Sunday.
At the three previous EuroBaskets, Spain have lost at this stage but gone on to capture the bronze medal.
Belarus will be very difficult opponents.
|If the Belarussian dream is to continue Katsiaryna Snytsina will have to play well.|
Playing in the final round of the European Championship for the first time in their history, they have made a stunning run to the last four.
Anatoli Buyalski's team has knocked host nation Italy out of the tournament while also defeating the defending champions Czech Republic in the last eight.
Spain prevailed 76-62 over Belarus on the opening night of the this tournament.
Last time out: Spain beat Belgium 72-53 while Belarus edged the Czech Republic 52-46.
Key match-up: Belarus' Katsyarina Snytsina v Spain's Amaya Valdemoro. Snytsina had a game-high 18 points in the first game against Spain and in their big win against the Czechs, she scored seven of Belarus' 12 points in the final quarter. Valdemoro came up with five steals and led Spain with 17 points in the quarter-final triumph over Belgium.
Key Stat: Belarus allowed Spain to shoot 50.8% (30 of 59) from the field but in their last two games against Italy and the Czechs, Buyalski’s defense improved substantially. The Italians made just 19 of 62 (30.6%) from the floor while the Czech Republic were 17 of 55 (30.9%).
X-Factor: Cindy Lima, Spain. Lima came off the bench and made life very difficult for Belgium’s superstar center Ann Wauters and if she offers a combative presence against the Belarus frontline of Yelena Leuchanka and Anastasiya Veremeenko, that will be a huge plus for Evaristo Perez’s team.
Speaking out: "This is the second time we meet Belarus in this tournament. The competition has proved that that game was too easy and that now will have to work very hard in the semi-finals if we wish to beat them." Spain coach Perez.