Italy have secured a place in the EuroBasket Women 2009 final in Latvia after beating Belgium to secure first place in Group B.
The Italians playing in front of a capacity crowd of 3500 beat Belgium (75-64) for their third victory.
Germany beat Ukraine in a low scoring game (48-45). Despite this defeat Ukraine have qualified for the finals because they beat Germany by 26 points in the first game.
Great Britain made hard work of beating Bosnia and Herzegovina. However the results count for little as Finland beat Romania in the other EuroBasket Women 2009 relegation game.
Finland, Great Britain and Romania are all still in danger of finishing in Division B as they might all finish with identical records after the final matches next week.
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Italy and Ukraine qualify for EuroBasket Women 2009 Italy on the way to EuroBasket Women 2009
In front of a capacity crowd and a live TV audience, the Italian players were under the spotlight.
Belgium found it difficult at the start of the match and allowed their hosts to open up (11-4).
It took Belgium five minutes to find their feet. A three-pointer by
Laurence Van Malderen settled their nerves.
Italy were able to remain in control as Simona Ballardini was active for Italy on both sides of the court.
However Italy were unable to open up a gap and led (18-16) by the end of the first period.
Italy went to work right at the start of the second period with Ballardini and
Laura Macchi to open the first significant lead of the game (27-17).
Belgium's problems mounted up with Van Malderen having to take a break after picking up her third foul with only 15 minutes played.
The Italians took full advantage to stretch their lead (35-21). Despite the efforts of
Raffaella Masciadri for Italy, Belgium recovered slightly reducing their deficit to 8 points by the interval (40-32). Sara Leemans was on fire at the start of the third period and Italy's lead was reduced to 2 points (44-42) with just over 90 seconds played.
Italy always found a resource when they were in trouble. It was the turn of
Eva Giauro to come to the rescue with back to back baskets.
Once Masciadri fired in a shot from the land of many to complete a 9-0 run it appeared that it was all over for Belgium (53-42).Arvid Diels, the Belgium head coach, called for a time-out.
He made some changes to his line-up. However nothing changed and Italy stretched their advantage (64-46) by the end of the third period.
Italy ended the game as a contest within three minutes of the fourth quarter (70-46).
They then took their foot off the accelerator allowing Belgium to come right back into the game. Yet the last score came from Masciadri as she fired her third three-pointer of the night for Italy to win (75-64).
For Italy Ballardina and Masciadri finished with 18 points each.
For Belgium Van Malderen, who is playing for Aix-en-Provence in the LFB, led the scoring with 15 points. Leemans, playing for Calais, finished with 13 points.
Two other players finished in double digits:
Sofie Hendrickx with 11 points and 9 rebounds and Jana Rana with 10 points.
Eurobasket Women 2009
Ukraine qualifying for Eurobasket Women 2009 despite defeat Germany beat Ukraine thanks to a three-point shot at the end of the match by Romy Bär (48-45).
Germany's victory against Ukraine last September resulted in Ukraine missing out on direct qualification for the finals of EuroBasket Women.
This time Germany were strong in defense and managed to keep Ukraine out of their paint for most of the match.
However they struggled offensively and were not able to score many points.
Ukraine had a 26-point cushion from their previous match and never appeared to be in trouble of losing that advantage.Neither side had any players from the French league in their roster.
Eurobasket Women 2009
EuroBasket Women 2009 Relegation News Sarah Naylor catalyst for Great Britain Matea Tavic (left) was in a hurry for Bosnia and Herzegovina as she scored her team's first 5 points.
However she was not alone in the scoring as
Sarah McKay scored 4 points for Great Britain.
Bosnia took full advantage of playing at home to lead early on (9-4).
Great Britain weathered the early storm and were soon back on level terms with 5 points which included a trey by Stefanie Collins (9-9).
McKay completed Great Britain's 7-0 sequence with a simple tip-in after a nice pass by
Lisa Hutchinson to briefly lead (11-9).
Great Britain were unable to build on their momentum allowing Tavic and
Anja Stupar to run riot and allow the hosts to regain the upper hand (17-12). Rosalee Mason came to the rescue of Great Britain as she shot 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.
Her second trip to the free-throw line was after she forced
Irena Vrancic into losing the ball and then pushing Tavic into committing an unsportsmanlike foul.
Yet Bosnia still led (17-16) at the end of the first period.
The start of the second period was littered with turnover after turnover from both sides as the two teams struggled to find any rhythm.
Bosnia just threw caution to the wind. After a trey from
Natasa Mikic the home side increased their lead (24-19) after 13 minutes. Mark Clark decided to restore some discipline and order in the Great Britain approach that resulted in his side eventually drawing level after Hutchinson and Mason made trips to the free-throw line (24-24). McKay's (right) return to action for Great Britain restored some hight. She was the only player to score from the field as both teams made frequent trips to the free-throw line with Bosnia holding on to the advantage (29-28).
Stupar and McKay exchanged the rear field goal in the last minute before Hutchinson split a pair of free-throws to level the score at the interval (31-31).
Bosnia finished the second period with 5-of-8 from the land of many while Great Britain went 2-of-6.
Bosnia continued their assault on Great Britain to regain the lead and to open a little gap (38-33).
With McKay and Collins in foul problems Great Britain were forced to make some tactical changes.
The result was dramatic as Great Britain fired in 6 quick points as
Kim Butler, Kristy Lavin and Sally Kaznica scored within 30 seconds to put the visitors in front (39-38).
Great Britain stretched their advantage (42-38) before being brought down to earth by a shot from down-town by Mikic and Maja Lokmic to put the hosts back in front (44-42).
The last 3 ½ minutes of the third period witnessed two lead changes before Great Britain took command with Sarah Naylor (left) and Butler firing in from the land of many (54-49).
The scoring stopped as both teams stepped up in defense to close the third period.
Naylor appeared to be the catalyst Great Britain required as she got her side going at the start of the final period with 4 quick points.
Bosnia also had problems in containing McKay and suffered a 19-2 hammering to bring an end to the contest (73-51) with five minutes left to play.
Bosnia did not give up completely and prevented their guests from scoring for almost four minutes while scoring 8 points.
Great Britain went on to win (77-61) with double-doubles from McKay (20 points and 12 rebounds) and Butler (15 points and 10 rebounds).
Naylor was the only other player in double digits with 10 points. Colomier's Mason scored all her points from the free-throw line 7-8.
For Bosnia Stupar scored 16 points and took 12 rebounds. Alma Kovacevic scored 15 points and Tavic finished with 10 points
Great Britain's EuroBasket Women 2009 relegation battle is not over yet with Finland having beaten Romania.
Yet Great Britain must win in Romania and hope that Bosnia beat Finland to be certain to maintain Division A status.
However if Great Britain and Finland win in the last game, then a calculator may be required as they will level with Romania in a three-way tie.
Eurobasket Women 2009
Finland blowing away Romania Heta Korpivaara (above) hit 6 three-pointers from eight attempts as she led Finland with 29 points to beat Romania (87-69).
Korpivaara opened the scoring with less than 10 seconds on the game clock with a shot from the land of many. She scored again during the first minute for Finland to lead (5-0).
Finland were not to relinquish the advantage in this game and edged the first period (21-15). They appeared to be well in control after another trey by Korpivaara as they stretched their lead (31-19) with just 12 minutes played.
Romania managed to put a stop on the advance of their hosts. They managed to reduce their deficit slightly and trailed by 7 points at the interval (38-45).
The third period was close for the first four minutes with neither side able to take the advantage with the hosts staying ahead (51-44).
Reetta Piipari started another sequence of Finnish success from beyond the arc as Finland scored three times in a row from beyond the arc. Korpivaara scored two of the three three-pointers and also put an end to their visitors’ resistance (60-51).
Finland increased their advantage to go into the final period with a comfortable lead (68-52).
The last quarter played itself out with the hosts in front by as many as 20 points at one stage. Finland ended the game in the same way as they started: with a three-pointer, this time by Piipari, to win (87-69).
Eurobasket Women 2009
Box Score Look back at EuroBasket Women Additional Qualification Round 4 (ADR) News Return from EuroBasket women 2009 qualifiers preparation to "What's New" page
Return to National teams news Picture credits: womensbasketball-in-france.com British Performance Basketball ANTTI AIMO-KOIVISTO/AFP/Getty Images Federazione Italiana Pallacanestro Date created: 16 January 2009