FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament joy for the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic have finished the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament with a disciplined victory over Japan to qualify for the Olympics.
The Story of the Match
A brisk start from the Czech Republic opened a (7-2) lead with Petra Kulichova and Hana Machova doing the offensive damage.
Japan started to run more with the ball. Points from Ryoko Yano, Noriko Koiso and Rika Tanaka put then Japan in the lead.
Yuko Oga then added a jumper to compete a Japanese 8-0 run that resulted in the Czech head coach calling for a time-out (10-7). The Japanese continued to play at pace and Oga was on hand to float a baseline jumper. The Czech Republic's tall players were finding it difficult to break down the Japanese defence. As well they were not fast enough in getting back to defend and Japan added 4 more points to their total (16-7).
Ivana Vercerva ended the Japanese onslaught from the free-throw line. Afterwards Machova came up with a jump shot for the Czech Republic. Japan continued to press hard and held on to their advantage by the end of the first period (21-16).
The second period was played at a slower pace. This initially uited the Czech Republic as they quickly reduced their deficit to a single point (20-21).
Japan picked up the pace and reverted back to taking quick shots from the outside. It took almost four minutes for them to score with Oga finding the way to the basket. She followed this up with a shot from beyond the arc as Japan appeared to have weathered the storm (26-20).
Machova from the Czech Republic started to take control of the game and set up a play for Eva Viteckova who then hit a three-pointer. Machova then went to score herself before Viteckova scored once more for the Czech Republic to take the lead (27-26) going into the interval.
Jana Vesela started more offensively in the third period and scored her first points of the match with the Czech Republic taking control.
By the time Kulichova added 5 quick points, the Czech Republic led by 10 points (38-28).
Japan were moving around and trying to find openings. When they did succeed their joy was brief as Eva Vitecova would hit a three-pointer (46-35).
The Czech Republic went into the final period leading (50-41).
Japan did everything they could to reduce their deficit but in vain. They were 13 points down (61-54) as the game reached the 35-minute mark.
With money-time approaching Machova was on the end of a fast break to give the Czech Republic a 10-point lead (70-60).The Czech Republic held on to win (76-64).