Montenegro Knock Off Spain

19 June 2011
EuroBasket Women 2011

Turning Point: Spain leading 43-41 midway through the third quarter, Montenegro went on an 19-8 run that bridged the third and fourth quarter to take a 62-49 lead. Spain cut the gap to eight points with two minutes remaining, but Iva Perovanovic´s three pointer proved a hammer blow for the Spaniards.

Game Heroes: Montenegro center Iva Perovanovic led her team in scoring with 18 points from eight for 12 (67%) shooting. Perovanovic also hauled down nine rebounds, dished out four assists and got one steal and blocked one shot.

Stats Don't Lie: Montenegro were superior shooting the ball on the day.They were six of 11 (55%) from behind the arc while Spain made just two of their 12 long-range attempts. Montenegro out-rebounded Spain 44-29.



Montenegro are for real!

The EuroBasket Women rookies shocked Spain 66-57 in a fascinating Group C encounter on Sunday in Katowice.

Less than 24 hours after beating hosts Poland, Miodrag Baletic's team improved to 2-0 and in the process looked very much like a side that can go deep in the tournament and even capture a medal.

In emotional scenes after the game, Montenegro players walked over to the end of the bench to celebrate with teammate Ana Baletic, who suffered a serious knee in the win over Poland and was lost for the tournament.

Baletic was in tears as she applauded the side after a victory against Spain, the number five team in the FIBA World Rankings for Women.

Montenegro dominated the boards, out-rebounding Spain 45-29.

That led to 16 valuable second-chance points.

The team from the Balkans also shot the ball well from long range, hitting six of 11 (55%) compared to Spain's two of 12 (17%).

For Spain, Alba Torrens had a game-high 25 points, including 18 in the first half, but her team went to the break trailing 39-31.

With Montenegro leading by 12 late in the second quarter, Torrens took over and poured in seven unanswered points to reduce the deficit to just five.

But Jelena Skerovic hit a three-ball at the half-time buzzer to reclaim the momentum for Montenegro and give them an eight-point lead.

Spain coach Jose Ignacio Hernandez, looking for more energy, sat most of his veterans down at the start of the second half and had Silvia Dominguez, Torrens, Laura Nicholls and Anna Cruz on the court with Anna Montanana and they brought the team back.

Torrens made two free-throws, Dominguez hit a three-pointer and Montanana added a basket to knot the game at 39-39.

Spain then went in front at 43-41 after another shot by Montanana.

More important than the points was the intensity on defense, particularly by Dominguez on Skerovic, as Spain got back in the game.

After Dominguez and Nicholls exited the game, however, Montenegro were able to reassert themselves and went on a 9-2 run to finish the third quarter.

Ana Turcinovic, a 17-year-old center, Iva Perovanovic, Skerovic and Jelena Dubljevic all had buckets in the spurt as Montenegro took a 54-47 advantage to the last frame.

That proved to be the deciding run because while Spain battled and Dominguez eventually reentered the contest, they didn't have a second comeback in them.

Skerovic finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Perovanovic 18 with nine boards and Turcinovic 11 points and five rebounds.

Milka Bjelica added five points and seven boards, two blocks and a steal and Dubljevic contributed 10 points and five rebounds.



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