Poland Effort Not Enough Against Error-Prone Russia

13 July 2009

Russia got a hard-earned 69-57 win over Poland to start the U20 European Championship Women Qualifying Round with an all-important victory.

Although Russia gave the ball away a worrisome 27 times, they were able to compensate by swatting away seven of the Poles' shots. 

Four of those blocks came from game-high scorer Nadezda Grishaeva, who had 18 points to go along with seven boards.

Her effort was seconded by Elena Pavlova's 14 points.

"We do not only have two players, we have twelve players who can play," said Russia head coach Aleksandr Kovalev. 

"Today they [Grishaeva and Pavlova] had their game so I put them on the court, but tomorrow it could be other players who have a good game."

Poland went up 6-4 just two minutes into the contest, but then Russia went on a 12-0 run capped by a Grishaeva jumper.  

Grishaeva would end the quarter with ten points to put her Russia up 19-11.

Russia got out to a 13-point advantage (31-18) on back-to-back threes by Pavlova with over four to play in before halftime. 

The Russians moved the ball better than their opponents and as a result shot 61% for the half compared to Poland's paltry 33%. 

Pavlova paced her team with 11 points in the quarter to give Russia a 38-22 lead going into the third.

The do-everything Russian small forward continued to sink thee-pointers and Poland's hopes at a comeback along with them.

Pavlova stole the ball, pushed it up-court and then assisted Yulia Savelyeva for an easy lay-up to push the lead to 20 (42-22) early in the third.  She then followed with two more three pointers a few minutes later to put what appeared to be final nails in the coffin at 51-25.

But Poland wasn't done, and with Pavlova on the bench with four fouls, they went on a 16-8 run over the first seven minutes of the last period to pull within nine at 58-49. 

It was, however, a case of too little, too late, and Russia went on to get the win.  

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