Serbia & Montenegro 68 Czech Republic 80

21 September 2003

Gordana Kovacevic and Ivana Vecerova
Serbia & Montenegro coach Miodrag Veskovic may be having a re-think about the teams he think are capable off winning the European title after running into a balanced Czech Republic outfit on Sunday.

In his pre-tournament press conference, Veskovic suggested that Russia, France, Spain and his own side were the national sides with serious hopes off a title.

The Czechs hammered inferior opponents Greece and Israel on days one and two, respectively, so the game against Veskovic and company was a perfect chance for them to make a statement about their chances.

They made a very loud one, in fact, by prevailing 80-68 with Lucie Blahuskova leading five players in double figures scoring with 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Jan Bobrovsky, a long-time player for the men's national team who is now the Czech Republic women's coach, was all smiles after this contest.

"We knew we were playing a talented and experienced team and we played hard," he said. "We practiced playing against a zone and when they tried to come back, we maintained our lead."

His players trailed by a basket after the first ten minutes but turned on the style in the second quarter to lead 44-36 at half-time.

The lead was 16 by the end of the third when the game was for all intents and purposes over.

"We played bad defence and the Czechs shot well from the outside," said Veskovic, whose team scraped by France on Saturday for their only triumph so far.

The Czechs were 30 of 66 from the field, including six of 16 from three-point range.

His team didn't help their own cause by missing nine of their 20 free throws.

"Their defence caused us a lot of problems and we missed a lot of shots and free throws," Veskovic conceded.

Gordana Kovacevic of Serbia & Montenegro led all scorers with 24 points.

After a rest day, Veskovic's troops return to the Group A fray on Tuesday with a game against Greece while the Czechs take on France.

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