|Lucia Kupcikova turned Sunday's game in the Slovak Republic's favour as they took a major step towards the next round|
By Paul Nilsen
Turning Point: Lucia Kupcikova showed why she is the leader for Slovak Republic after making a beautiful little one-handed score in the lane under real pressure, to make it 75-68 with a couple of minutes left to effectively seal the deal for her team.
Stats Don't Lie: Giving up a pitiful 14 offensive rebounds epitomised the lack of any inside presence defensively for the soft centred Ukrainians although injuries to their frontcourt did provide some mitigation. An eye-watering 24 turnovers didn't help the Ukraine cause either.
Game Heroes: Kupcikova was outstanding not only with the intangibles, but also because she finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and six steals. Klaudia Lukacovicova was also very impressive after harvesting 23 points and missing out on a double-double by a solitary rebound.
Slovak Republic responded to their opening day loss by taking a sizeable step towards sealing their place in Lille with a comfortable 75-68 EuroBasket Women 2013 Group B win against Ukraine.
Nevertheless, speaking after the game, head coach Ivan Vojtko was happy with his players but also at pains to underline how he would have preferred a greater margin of victory to avoid losing out in any potential three-way tie.
He explained: "It was a very tough game for both sides. They were coming back and it was difficult to finish.
"Overall, we played a great game and just had a few too many turnovers in the second half.
"Our all-round defence and offence was great, but we wanted to win by more than 10 points because of the possible situation if Ukraine beat Montenegro, although this was only a small negative."
Slovak Republic took control during the second period of the game with a splendid 24-9 quarter which put them in the box-seat.
They were quicker and more powerful inside than Ukraine and this trend continued into the second half.
Ukraine launched a late revival and threatened the most unlikely of wins, but the Slovaks had too much in their locker.
The headline contributions were supplemented with seven assists from Timea Sujova and a nice four of five floor shooting cameo by Romana Vynuchalova.
Ukraine Player Viktoria Mircheva
"I want to congratulate the Slovakian team for this win and for the effort they made. We did a lot of mistakes on offence and defence, and lost some important rebounds."
Slovakia Player Klaudia Lukacovicova
"After yesterday's game in which we didn't look like we wanted it, we showed great heart today. We deserved the win, I am really happy. I don't know if this is the best performance in my career, but probably it is. I am really happy because I did it at the right moment."
Ukraine Head Coach Vadim Czeczuro
"Congratulations to the Slovak Republic on this win. We played a very good first quarter but in the second half we didn't rebound and we were bad on defence; they got easy shots and we lost our rhythm. I think to us this was the ‘game for the medals', but tomorrow we will give 200% against Montenegro."
Slovakia Head Coach Ivan Vojtko
"It was a very tough game on both sides of the field. They showed they could come back into the game but I think we had a great second half both on offence and defence. Congratulations to my team."