Serbia Scrap Their Way To Final Eight

23 June 2013
Ana Dabovic (Serbia)
Ana Dabovic was an inspiration for Serbia, taking the court with a heavily strapped leg to still produce eight points and five assists

By Joe Hewison

Turning Point: Serbia were gifted six straight second quarter points from fouls of frustration. Two of these came from a technical foul placed on Czech Republic Head Coach Lubor Blazek, not only that, they came in the aftermath of a 14-0 Serbia run.

Stats Don't Lie: Serbia connected on 50% of their two-point shots while the Czech Republic only hit 35.4% from the same range.

Game Hero: Milica Dabovic led by example once again. The energetic guard had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals as she covered every inch of the hardwood in pursuit of victory.

Serbia Head Coach Marina Maljkovic believes her players' hunger to prove themselves has fuelled their drive to the quarter-finals of EuroBasket Women.

Serbia booked their place in the final eight with a 75-59 win over the Czech Republic in Vendee on Sunday, despite entering the second round with no carry-over wins.

But another hard working defensive display was behind this decisive success, which turned in their favour following a 14-0 second quarter run.

The win also sealed the fate of Great Britain who had no chance of remaining alive in the competition regardless of the result of their game against Croatia later in the day.

The lead was stretched to as many as 28 in the third quarter before the Czech's rallied to cut the lead to 11 in the fourth following a 10-0 run.

But Serbia were able to find another level to leapfrog the already-qualified Czechs, and they could yet finish second in Group F if France beat Belarus.

Maljkovic praised the attitude of her players and stressed that they must continue in a similar vein.

She said: "You see the happiness of the group and the players.

"They are so hungry to show what they can do and in all the upcoming games, that is how we are going to play because this the only way a new team like us can play.

"I always say to my players, when you give everything you have and play from the heart then I am happy so we continue.

"Playing in that manner brought us here, which nobody expected."

Captain Milica Dabovic was Serbia's star of the show once again leading the scoring with 17 points but it was her all-around display that was most impressive.

Even an injury to Ines Ajanovic couldn't slow Serbia, who responded to the Czech fight-back to run out comfortable winners in the end.

For Czech Republic Head Coach Lubor Blazek, this is one his players must move on from as they prepare to face the top team from Group E.

He said: "I am sorry to have lost this game. Some games are just better to forget, don't get too involved in analysing.

"Our aim is to focus on the games ahead of us now."




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