Maltsi Magic Helps Greece Triumph

02 September 2005

Anyone who thinks the Greek women will not be as fired up to play at the EuroBasket as they were as hosts of the Olympics had better think again.

Coming off an emotional Summer Games a year ago when they achieved their aim of a quarter-final place, Greece rode the hot hand of superstar Evanthia Maltsi to a 66-61 triumph over Germany in Group A.

Maltsi, who was virtually unstoppable in Athens a year ago, exploded for 28 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists in a virtuoso performance.

The 1.8m forward's heroics brought Greece back from an early deficit. Linda Froehlich's lay-up gave Germany a 12-4 lead six minutes into the opening quarter, but Maltsi poured in eight points in a 10-0 run to give Greece the lead with 1:34 to go in the opening quarter.

Germany stopped the bleeding with a Katja Munck three-pointer and ended up taking a 35-32 lead into half-time.

When Marlies Askamp split two free throws after the restart, Germany stretched their lead to 39-32 but Maltsi and Greece came back.

They took the lead for good at 45-44 when Maria Samorukova made one of two from the line midway through the third quarter.

The Greeks built an eight-point advantage in the fourth quarter but the outcome was not decided until the final minute.

Germany fought back and closed to 62-61 with 1:25 remaining on Dorothea Richter's lay-up, however, baskets from guard Vasileia Gkouzini and center Polymnia Sarekgou saw Greece home and ended the scoring.

Greece have a clash with gold medal contenders France on Saturday, while Germany will look for their first win against Latvia.

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