By Cindy Garcia-Bennett
Belarus crushed Serbia on Wednesday night in Ortona, Italy, to claim second place in Group D.
Belarus center Yelena Leuchanka scored a team-high 14 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, dished out two assists and had three blocked shots.
She connected on seven of eight from the floor.
Belarus had three other players finish in double figures.
"I am really proud of my team," said Belarus coach Anatoli Buyalski.
|Natallia Marchanka had 11 points four rebounds and three assists for Belarus.|
"We prepared hard for this game and we were strong in defense, this is a deserved victory."
Serbia trailed for most of the game and went into the final quarter trailing by 13 points.
Belarus hit five three-pointers in the last period to crush any hopes of a Serbia comeback.
The winners finished seven of 20 (35%) from long range and were an impressive 25 of 45 (55.6%) from inside the arc.
"We have been getting more confident game by game," said Leuchanka.
"We are very happy to be in the next round. This is our first EuroBasket and we don't know what to expect in the next round but all I can tell you is that the other teams better watch out."
Serbia found out early on that Belarus meant business, as they trailed 21-16 going into the second quarter.
Belarus went into the break leading 43-36, with Leuchanka scoring 10 first-half points.
Belarus limited Serbia to just six points over the next six minutes to lead 54-42.
Miljana Musovic kept her team in the game scoring five consecutive points but they went into the last quarter trailing 60-47 Belarus pulled away.
"This was our worst game so far at the EuroBasket," said Serbia coach Jovica Antonic.
"We did everything wrong, we didn't run, we didn't fight and when you have a team without experience you must have these ingredients in order to have a chance."
Musovic finished with a game-high 15 points and was the only Serbian player to finish in double figures.
Serbia finished 21 of 63 (33.3%) from the floor.