Slovakia Stun Russia
Slovakia scraped their way into the qualifying round of the U18 European Championship for Women and now they're making the most of it.
|Nikola Kovalova had 19 points for Slovakia in their upset of Russia.|
Nikola Kovalova scored 19 points and Regina Palusna weighed in with 16 while pulling down 15 rebounds as the Slovakians hammered Russia 77-63.
It was the fourth game in a row where Palusna finished with a double-double.
Slovakia gained momentum early on and rode that to victory with a 13-2 run that left them with a 17-6 lead.
Russia didn't allow them to pull away and scored six consecutive points to close the gap to 36-33 with 1:01 remaining in the first half.
Slovakia emerged from the locker rooms for the third quarter refreshed and ready to run.
The Russians struggled to keep up with their fast breaks, and the Slovakians went on a 17-3 run to take their lead to 55-40.
Point guard Diana Benuscova had eight points in that surge.
Russia went into the last quarter trailing 58-45 and Slovakia 's Palusna and Kovalova helped deliver the final blows.
"We are extremely happy with this win," said a delighted Palusna.
"We have shown today that we are a great team and that we can play very good basketball.
"It was important for us to be always in front in the game and I think we handled it well."