Poland Hold Off Sweden, Advance To Quarter-Finals


Poland outlasted Sweden 84-79 to grab the final spot in Quarter-Finals of the U20 European Championship Women 2009.

Poland won thanks to an unlikely star.  Reserve guard Olivia Tomialowicz came off the pine in the second quarter to score a game-high 29 points.

Sweden knew that their hopes to advance hung by a thread needing to win by a margin of 15 points.  Nonetheless, they gave a spirited effort from start to finish. 

Sweden led 26-20 after the first quarter fuelled by Louice Halvarsson's early 14 points including a pair of three-pointers from the center.  She ended up with 22 in the game.

Agnieszka Sobel kept Poland on pace with 10 points in the first ten minutes.

Poland then looked to their bench and found Olivia Tomialowicz who burned a hole in the net with five three pointers and two field goals to go for 19 in the second quarter alone. And Poland went into the second up 51-39.

Poland pushed their advantage out to 15 in the third, a lead they maintained till early in the fourth quarter.

But Sweden never stopped hustling and, even though now dreaming of a 14-point win was out of the question, they seemed determined to end the tournament with a victory.

Beata Gulberg stole the ball and laid it in to get the Polish lead to eight with :59 seconds left and when Pernilla Hanson hit a jumper 24 seconds later you could feel the tension in the crowd.

Gulberg, however, would miss three-of-four shots from the foul line in final seconds and Poland could finally claim a hard-earned win.

"I am very happy because our plan was to be in the Quarter-Finals and we are very glad to be here," said Skobel after the game.

Poland face undefeated Spain, the top seed from Group E.

"Spain is a really good, fast team," said Poland's leader.

"But we are going to prepare the game very well and hope we can win."  

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