Superb Sweden Stun Reigning Champions

16 June 2013
Ashley Key (Sweden)
Ashley Key gave the hoardes of Swedish fans in France plenty of reason to party late into the night

By Paul Nilsen

Turning Point: Sweden were outstanding in the third period and turned the game on its' head, claiming the frame 19-7. So maybe the turning point came in the locker room via Coach Lars Johansson as they looked like a team possessed and on a serious mission after the interval.

Stats Don't Lie: Russia shot 25.4% - it rarely gets much worse offensively than that. They missed a staggering 50 shots in the game and were 17-of-67. Sweden pulled down 33 defensive rebounds to match their opponent in the paint and it was essential to take the win.

Game Heroes: It was a team performance but Louice Halvarsson got a double-double of 10 points and ten rebounds. She also played physically and made up for sitting down most of day one because of foul trouble.

The masses of Swedish fans in Vannes will party long into the night after their team found the upset they needed to claim a famous 68-57 defeat of defending EuroBasket Women champions Russia.

Facing the prospect of elimination after their stomach-churning one-point loss against Italy on day one, Sweden needed to defy the odds and claim a win to stay alive in the competition.

With the vocal backing of hundreds of their noisy fans, the team responded to reach Round 2 as the energy cascaded down from the stands

The contrast in emotion between day one and two could not have been greater, the body blow of the painful loss to Italy replaced by utter relief and jubilation.

Head Coach Lars Johansson explained after the game how he had dealt with such a difficult first game back at Final Round, since this was the key to finding a win at the second attempt.

"We had a few hours off to let the emotions go and to then analyse it in a rational way," said the play-caller.

"After a one-point loss, you can find 200 reasons for it, but we eventually forgot about it before bed.

"The one thing with this team is that they are not afraid of challenges - in fact, the bigger the challenge is, the better.

"We used two words in preparation and those were courage and patience.

"We knew beating Russia would mean playing a physical game and rebounding with five people at all times."

Meanwhile Russian forward Anna Petrakova also underlined the aggressive approach of the Swedish team as she reviewed the loss.

She said, "It was a physical game, Sweden played very rough and hard.

"They did a great job scouting us and they discovered our strengths and were able to defend our strong parts.

They also double-teamed us when necessary and we didn't have a lot of options on offence.

"Sweden were just better than us."





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