Russia stay unbeaten at EuroBasket Women
Belarus were quickly into their stride with swift movement and got off the mark through Anastasiya Verameyenka.
Both teams' observation phase continued for almost two minutes before Verameyenka doubled the points for her side.
Then Maria Stepanova hit a baseline jumper to get Russia off the mark.
But it was Natallia Marchanka from Belarus that got the few fans in the hall on their feet with almost three minutes (7-2) played.
Svetlana Abrosimova started to run the ball for Russia and opened up the Belarus defense.
Ilona Korstin made use of the extra space for back to back scores. Russia eventually drew level with a trey from Abrosimova.
Russia looked as if they were going to take the lead as Korstin went up for a lay-up. However Verameyenka came from nowhere and blocked the attempt.
Russia finally went in front after back to back baskets from Stepanova and a trey from the top of the key from Marina Kuzina (16-11).
Marina Kress brought Russia’s 9-0 run to an end with a couple of free-throws.
Natallia Anufryienka from Belarus opened her account for the last points of the quarter (15-18).
The start of the second period was played at a leisurely pace with both sides defensively holding up impressive blocks.
Kuzina from Russia was the only player to score in the first four minutes with a three-pointer for Russia (21-15).
Russia extended their advantage after Stepanova found Irina Osipova. Both coach made changes and the game became a little quicker as there was an exchange of baskets.
Russia held on to the advantage (26-19) with three minutes remaining in the second period.
Then they started to become a little careless in their execution.
Belarus took advantage with back to back scores which forced the Russian head coach Valeriy Tikhonenko to call for a time-out.
Afterwards Russia returned more focused and went into the interval leading (32-23) after baskets from Ekaterina Lisina and Korstin.
The two teams reverted back to a leisurely pace for the first four minutes of the third period while exchanging baskets constantly with Russia maintaining the advantage (42-34).
The Russian coach decided it was time to inject some pace into the game and also stopped Belarus from scoring. Stepanova made a difference with her return with 4 quick points offensively. She also was mainly responsible for Belarus failing to score for more than 3 ½ minutes.
Her side went into the final period leading (50-36).
Russia never appeared to be in any trouble in this game. The final quarter, although entertaining, became no more than an exhibition game.
Russia won the match (66-51).
EuroBasket Women 2009 Box Scores.
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EuroBasket Women news from day 1
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EuroBasket Women 2009 pictures credits :
Date: 12 June 2009