FIBA World Championship: Czech Republic are in the final
Karlovy Vary is known for ice hockey. That might change as the town could become famours for women's basketball as the hosts have qualified for the final of the FIBA World Championship for Women for the first time under the name of the Czech Republic.
Hana Horáková (left) took a season off from the national team at EuroBasket Women 2009. But this year she came up with a magical performance for the hosts with 14 points, 5 steals, 1 block and 8 drawn fouls.
What the statistics do not show is the energy she used in playing the game.
Belarus battled hard for 45 minutes and made their opponents work a lot. Nevertheless the 20 turnovers and the high number of second-chance opportunities given to their opponents may have cost them the match.
The leading scorer for the Czech Republic with 21 points was Eva Vitecková while Jana Veselá and Ilona Burgrová added 14 and 10 point each.
For Belarus Anastasiya Verameyenka led the way with 24 points while Yelena Leuchanka and Tatyana Troina contributed 17 and 13 points each.
You can read the full game report below:
Czech Republic come out on top in overtime in the FIBA World Championship semi-final against Belarus
After just 21 seconds Yuliya Dureika (left) fired in a three-pointer to get Belarus going. She also scored the second basket of the game (5-0) to give her team the perfect start.
Finally Hana Horáková got the hosts into the game with a lay-up. But the home supporters were quickly silenced with back to back scores from Anastasiya Verameyenka and Yelena Leuchanka.
With just three minutes played, Luboš Blažek, the Czech Republic coach, called a time-out (2-9).
Afterwards the hosts started to defend harder. With Horáková, Katerina Elhotova and Ivana Vecerová scoring quickly, they came back into the game.
The pendulum swung in favour of the Czech Republic. They went in front for the first time with a quarter-ending-buzzer shot from Petra Kulichová (16-15).
The second quarter was fast and furious with both teams having their moments.
With six minutes to play in the quarter Martina Kress put Belarus back in front briefly with a trey from the top of the arc (23-22).
Bourges Basket player Ilona Burgrová (right) restored the lead for the hosts which was quickly followed by a score from Horáková that had the crowd on their feet.
Horáková had hustled the ball off Natallia Marchanka at mid court and then went all the way to the basket to score (26-25).
The flood gates opened and points started to come from all over the court as both sides fought tooth and nail for everything.
Belarus did not panic or let the home fans get to them. With 44 seconds left to play they regained the advantage through Nataliya Trafimava (34-32) for the last score of the first half.
After the break both teams went after each other like cat and dog with nobody gaining a centimetre.
The hosts started to dominate the battle for the offensive boards and with 26 minutes played they led (48-43).
The game became more intense with the Czech Republic holding on to their advantage going into the fourth quarter (54-49).
The last quarter was excitement all the way: clutch shooting, missing easy shoots and plenty of contact. The arena was packed and everybody was cheering the home team.
However Verameyenka was a lady on a mission for Belarus: she was involved in everything as they made up their deficit.
With just three minutes left to play in regulation time, their captain Kress levelled the score (61-61).
With 13 seconds left to play the Czech Republic had a foot in the final of the FIBA World Championship for Women leading (68-65).
But Belarus were not to be denied and after Marchanka split a pair from the charity stripes, Trafimava then tied the game with nine seconds to play.
The hosts still had time to score but they failed in the execution and the game went to overtime.
Horáková made a half-court steel to score the first points in overtime for the hosts. Then Vitecková gave a 4-point cushion with just over a minute to play (77-73).
Belarus battled hard and pushed the hosts all the way.
Although Horáková was not having much luck from the free-throw line, she settled the game on the free-throw line.