The Slovak Republic like to thrill FIBA Europe's youth baketball competitions. Today they faced an aggressive Ukraine team and came out on top (72-63) by hitting 9-from-18 shots from behind the arc.
You had to feel sorry for Angelika Oravcová who was battered all over by Alina Iagupova for most of the game. It takes a brave person to put themselves into the path of Iagupova in full flight.
Iagupova finished with 33 points and Oleksandra Chek added 14 points for Ukraine. But this was not enough against a more compact and balanced Slovak Republic team.
We caught up with Martina Kissová from the Slovak Republic who gave us her thoughts about the game in a video interview.
Martina Kissová is a young player with plenty of talent. Yet the FIBA Europe U20 Championships have not been kind to her: last year she had an ACL injury and this year again she is hurt.
The Slovak Republic were quick out of the starting blocks with a (10-1) lead with four minutes played.
Marta Páleníková (in picture) was the main scorer for the Slovak Republic at the start of the game.
But once she was taken off for a break, the Slovakian side stopped scoring. Hence the Ukraine were able to come storming back with some incredible three-point shooting by Alina Iagupova.
Angelika Oravcová from the Slovak Republic got battered to pieces by the Ukrainian players but stood her ground and scored some tough points as the teams shared the first quarter (16-16).
The Slovak Republic started the second quarter with a pair of three-pointers by Barbora Bálintová and Gabrielge Nagyová to regain the advantage (22-21).
The Ukraine continued to be very physical and were able to draw fouls which allowed them free trips to the charity stripes.
The Slovak Republic had no option but to start playing rough as well in order to neutralise the power of Iagupova (in picture).
The tactic paid off because Ukraine retreated and the Slovak Repulic were once again able to hit shots from down town as they went 8 points clear by the break (36-28).
Páleníková was everywhere for the Slovak Republic, scoring and defending as her team went 11 points up (44-33) midway through the quarter.
However Ukraine's physical direct approach resulted in Oravcová picking up her 4th foul early in the third quarter.
Also the Slovak players had no answer for Iagupovea they fouled her and let her score from the free-throw line.
All the same the Slovak Republic finished the quarter leading (51-38). But Oravcová appeared to have strained her thigh muscle and had to hop off the court after the buzzer.
The Slovak Republic committed 4 personal fouls in the first 75 seconds of the final quarter. Zofia Hruscáková who was the 4th player to foul had to return to the bench with her 4th foul.
Then it was the Ukraine that committed a few fouls and thereby losing the advantage they had with free trips to the free-throw line.
The Slovak Republic were then able to impose their style because their opponents could not be physical any more.
Unfortunately the end of the game was spoilt a little when Oravcová (in picture) fouled out with 2:18 to play. She was knocked flying by Alina Iagupova and was left clutching her neck and crying out in pain.
The Slovak were leading (72-58) at the time but had to settle for a (72-63) victory.
Slovak Repubic: Petra Bartánusová 5, Zuzana Ivancáková 2, Martina Letková 11, Barbora Bálintová 13, Zofia Hruscáková 3, Marta Páleníková 16, Nikoleta Feketeova DNP, Gabriela Nagyová 8, Martina Kissová DNP, Marianna Draganovská, 0 Beáta Janoscíková 4, Angelika Oravcová 10
Ukraine: Nataliya Pokrovenko 0, Xeniya Afanasyeva 3, Olga Krayevska DNP, Kateryna Demchenko 4, Mariya Tkach 3, Alina Iagupova 33, Larysa Stadnik 0, Viktoriya Karyeva DNP, Oleksandra Chek 14, Anna Kiriyenko 5, Lyudmyla Naumenko 3, Miriam Uro-Nile 0
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