Belarus complete Fiba Olympic qualifying tournament grand slam for Europe


The FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament last quarter-final in the went to overtime. Belarus held out when it mattered most to overcome Brazil (86-79) to win.

The Story of the Match

 Claudia Das Neves

The first attack by Brazil was followed by the first point for Iziane Castro Marques. Belarus took their time in getting into the game but were soon level as Anastasiya Verameyenka got on the score sheet.

Claudia Das Neves (left)was running the plays for Brazil and Castro Marques (12 first-quarter points) was doing most of the scoring as Brazil took an early lead(12-6).

Brazil then started to struggle as Belarus and in particular Natallia Marchanka (8 points in this quarter) got into her stride. Martina Kress put Belarus in front for the first time in the game (19-18).

The lead did not last long and the game was tied (22-22) by the end of the first period.

Verameyenka returned at the start of the second period although she had picked up 2 fouls during the first quarter.

With her on the field Belarus were able to apply a zone defence keeping Brazil scoreless. On the other hand Belarus scored 9 unanswered points during the first five minutes of the quarter (31-22).

 Micaela Martins Jacintho<Micaela Martins Jacintho ended Brazil' almost seven-minute draught with her trademark skip and hop into the paint (24-31).

Belarus modified their zone system to keep their opponents well beyond the three-point zone.

Brazil eventually found a way into breaking the Belarus' wall to score 4 points. Yet Belarus went into the interval leading (35-28).

Belarus continued with their suffocating defence on Brazil and increased their lead (44-31) as they continued to hit Brazil on the fast break.

Brazil were not having any luck with their shooting so they decided to drive to the basket and use their pace to penetrate the wall.

Das Neves scored 2 points in this manner (33-44) before giving way for Karla Martins Da Costa whose first action was to hit a three-pointer.

Belarus were now on the back foot and started to panic. They turned the ball over and Brazil quickly came back. Franciele Do Nascimento completed the recovery as she forced her way into the paint to score while drawing a foul. Hence she brought Brazil to within three points (43-46).

Belarus were now finding the going tough as Martins Da Costa from Brazil fought for every ball and usually won. She finished the period with a big three-pointer from way behind the three-point line to bring her side to within 1 point (50-51) going into the final period.  Patricia de Oliveira Ferreira

Da Costa was still hot when the fourth period started. She hit a baseline three-pointer for Brazil to go in front.

Patricia De Oliveira Ferreira (left)was to hit the next three-pointer for Brazil as her side continued with their bombardment of the opponent.

Marchanka tried to get Belarus going. Her quick movements resulted in Tatyane Troina scoring 5 points. Yet Brazil still led (58-57).

De Oliveira Ferreira hit another 3 for Brazil and it took a big three-pointer by Olga Masilionene to keep Belarus in touch. Once again Martins Da Costa used her electrifying pace to run into the Belarus' paint and scored.

It then became a game of Belarus against "Karla" as she responded every time with something special after Belarus scored (68-62).

The last three minutes were end to end basketball with both teams putting their bodies on the line.

Brazil had the advantage (72-67) but then allowed Troina to run the length of the court to hit a trey (72-70) with 65 seconds left in the game.

After the Brazilian time-out Belarus managed to get hold of the ball but then lost the advantage as they were forced into a 24-second-clock violation.

The game still had 31.09 seconds to play and Das Neves ran the clock down. But just as she wanted to shoot, she lost control of the ball. By the time Brazil could recover the situation the 24 seconds were over.

Belarus had 6.09 seconds left to save the game. Brazil decided to foul Troini who only managed to hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripes.

She missed the second shot but Verameyenka got to the rebound first. She was fouled before she scored and hit only 1-of-2 from the foul line to level the game (72-72).

With the rush to win this game the ball slipped out of everybody's hands and the game went into overtime.

 Verameyenka and MarchankaVerameyenka enjoyed the first three minutes of overtime as she scored the first 8 points for Belarus. Belarus had finally taken control of the contest (78-74).

Troini then put Brazil in further trouble as she was left unguarded and free to score. Marchanka then did the rest by holding the ball long enough to be fouled. She did not tremble from the free-throw line on her two visits (84-74).

Karla hit a 3 for Brazil with 20 seconds left. But after the time-out Brazil lost 10 seconds before fouling Marchanka and the game was lost.

Belarus won (86-79).

After the match it was announced by Brazil that Iziane Castro Marques has been suspended from the team after refusing to play when requested by the coach during overtime.

Olympic qualifying tournament Box Score

After Match Comments from Belerus

 Sviatlan Volnaya Sviatlana Volnaya (left) feel great about going to the Olympics as she believes that this is a one time opportunity for her. She also added that today people in Belarus are not watching soccer (football) but women's basketaball.

 Yelena LeuchankaYelena Leuchanka is happy for everybody and the country and believes everybody deserves the opportunity to live the dream. She went on to explain that she has not come to terms with the qualification yet but it will come soon.

Tatyana Troini explained that no words can describe how it feels but everybody is happy. She also explained that they knew that if they had lost it did not mean the dream was over, so they were relaxed.

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Olympic qualifying tournament picture credit: MIGUEL BORDOY CANO for action pictures

Date: 13 June 2008

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