Czechs Out To Surprise Unbeaten Spain

25 June 2013

EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013

By Paul Nilsen

14. Sancho Lyttle (Spain)
Dominant in the paint: Sancho Lyttle

With six wins from six games, Spain head into their quarter-final clash with Czech Republic as strong favourites, with their opponents having to contemplate stopping one of the standout players so far at EuroBasket Women 2013, in the form of Sancho Lyttle.

Last Time Out: Spain came out on top in the battle of the unbeaten teams in Group E as they locked down Turkey to take a 61-48 success. Czech Republic had to settle for fourth spot in Group F, after signing off their time in Vendespace with a heavy 75-59 loss to Serbia.

Key Match Up: Nobody in the top half of the draw has been able to stop Sancho Lyttle and now it's the turn of her first opponent from the other half to try. And, the task could well be handed to Ilona Burgrova, who in stark comparison to Lyttle, has been out of sorts and not really found top gear. There would be no better time to do so for Burgrova, who could match the physicality of Lyttle and potentially keep her away from the boards. At the very least, she needs to stop Lyttle from finding any rhythm by disrupting her game and preventing her getting off to a rapid start.

8. Ilona Burgrová (Czech Republic)
Ilona Burgrová will again have to work with all she has to stop Sancho Lyttle and Spain

Key Stat: As you might expect, Spain outstrip Czech Republic in just about every category, especially in their scoring ability. However, if the Czechs want to keep it close by utilising their decent defensive prowess, then they can't afford to shoot only 67.1% from the free-throw line down the other end of the court.

X-Factor: With few weaknesses in the Spanish backcourt, it would be a significant bonus if Katerina Elhotova finally came alive offensively for the Czech Republic. She has been disappointing so far and if she contributed at the offensive end, it would stretch the defence and open up the lanes for cutters to exploit. The biggest factor will be on point guard Veronika Bortelova who must do absolutely everything in her power to control the tempo and somehow try to slow Spain down.

From The Camps: "In one game anything can happen, but we enter with confidence and we just want to play with the same identity and strong defence against the Czech Republic. We want to continue to dream of achieving big goals in this tournament." Spanish playmaker Silvia Dominguez.

"The (Serbia) match is one that is better to forget about and now we are concentrating on the rest of the tournament. There is also the positive of the performance of young Tereza Vyoralová, who is showing that she is capable of playing at this level." Czech head coach Lubor Blazek on forgetting the past and focusing on the future, both short and long term.


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