Ukraine Borders Heroism But Experience Pays Off For Czech Republic

UKRAINE 75 – CZECH REPUBLIC 79

Ukraine came in strong, allowing just four points to the Czechs in the first 6 minutes. Their offense worked also and they put in front 18-6 ahead, with a Czech team out of the game and Olena Ogorodnikova leading the team. Veverka moved the bench and put into some fresh blood in Katerina Elhotova, Tereza Peckova and Marketa Bednarova with 4 minutes remaining and the dynamic of the game turned upside down. They sparked the defense letting Orly three points to Volodymyr Bryukhovetskyy's team in that last four minutes. The good defense generated confidence in the offense and Petra Kulichova started a 17-3 run that served the Czech Rep levelled the score, 21-21, after back to back three pointers from Katerina Elhotova y Marketa Bednarova.

The second quarter begin with traded baskets. Tereza Peckova scored back to back baskets for her team making it 25-23 for Veverka's team that then went down again and Ukraine led by Inna Kobuchei started a 9-0 run after three minutes with a trey and fast break baskets to regain the lead 32-25. With 5:40 for the break Marketa Bednarova stopped the run (32-27) but Czechs were in freefall and Ukraine regained the double digit lead, 39-27, after a 7-0 run with three minutes for the break. None of the teams scored during the next 1:30 and the Czech Rep started in the late seconds to go to the locker trailing 41-31 after the basket from Katerina Elhotova.

Ukraine controlled the game after the break despite the Czechs got into six points after back to back baskets from Tereza Peckova y Marketa Bednarova, 41-35, in the beginning of the quarter but Ukraine's defense stopped the Czechs and could only insert some baskets between the Ukrainian scoring who had Olexandra Gorbunova and Olena Orogodnikovaleading the team, entering the fourth 57-44 ahead after a late three pointer from Eva Viteckova.

Eva Viteckova and Michala Hartigova closed the gap in the early stages of the fourth with a trey and a jump shot respectively to make it 57-49. Then became the trading and when Veverka switched to zone defense the Ukrainian offense stalled and a three pointer from Eva Viteckova after four minutes put the Czechs back in the game, 64-61, but they went down again and received a 7-0 run started by Olena Orogodnikova and capped with two freebies and a trey from Olexandra Gorbunova to regain the double digit margin, 71-61, with 3:50 remaining.

Katerina Elhotova cut the drought with two free throws and Jana Vesela scored the three to put the czechs back in the game, making it 71-66, Orogodnikova made it 73-66 right after but the Czech Rep scored 5 straight points -2 freebies from Marketa Bednarova and a three point play from Katerina Bartonova- to make it 73-71, leading to Ukraine time out. Inna Kochubei made it 75-71 after the stop and Czech Rep switched again to individual and swarmed Ukraine that struggled to score. With 75-72 after a freebie from Bartonova with over a minute remaining Ukraine missed its offense and Tereza Peckova hit the three in the ensuing possession to level the score with 45 seconds remaining, 75-75. The Czechs lived from the free throws in the last stages of the game and that finally gave them the victory. A flagrant foul on Jana Vesela lead to 4 straight points from the Czechs, all coming from the charity stripe, 2 for Vesela an 2 more from Viteckova that sealed the Czech passport to next round after winning 79-75.

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