Serbo-Montenegrin Women Win Over Finns

12 September 2004

Finland's women lost for the second time in their European Championship qualifiers and though they were unhappy about the officiating, there were no complaints about the 86-73 result.

Finnish star Taru Tuukkanen felt the referees could have done better, claiming: "The visitors were allowed to set moving screens, we weren't. The referees clearly respected the visitors."

This time we had no possibility of winning
Risto Piipari
Nevertheless, Finland head coach Risto Piipari admitted: "This is the toughest team in the qualifications group and we are fighting for second place which would guarantee we will carry on in the EC qualifications."

"This time we had no possibility of winning."

Even Tuukkanen conceded: "The visitors were that tough that it is no shame to lose by 13 points.

"We had too many losses and in bad places where the experienced players got easily into scoring positions."

The Finns and Poland have lost both of their Group D games while the Serbo-Montenegrins and Bulgaria have prevailed in each of theirs.

The Serbo-Montenegrin women, who finished eighth at the European Championships in Greece last year, led 44-34 at the break and never looked in danger against the Nordic outfit.

The Finns fought hard during the first period which ended 24-24, but the visitors tightened up on defence over the next 10 minutes and the hosts weren't able to claw their way back.

Auli Nyman, Finland's best low post player, got into early foul trouble and that hurt the home side's chances.

Nyman would end up playing 24 minutes and scoring 11 points, not enough to save her team.

"We won the match under the basket," said Serbia & Montenegro's Jelena Skerovic.

"(Auli) Nyman's fouls helped us. We had analysed beforehand that she is one of the best Finnish players."

On the bright side for Finland, Sanna Puskala had 26 points.

Point guard Milika Dabovic had 15 points to lead the Serbo-Montenegrins.

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