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Snytsina and Rigas not perturbed about Belarus' starting trouble
ISTANBUL (FIBA World Championship for Women) - Belarus, Semi-Finalists at the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women, certainly did not get off to the best of starts at Istanbul's Abdi Ipekci Arena on Saturday.
Starting point guard Aliaksandra Tarasava played less than five minutes and limped out holding her knee with Korea pouncing on the opportunity to build a double-digit lead and control the game for the better part of the first half.
Belarus did wake up eventually, in time to grab a 70-64 win.
"It always happens to us in every tournament," chuckled Katsiaryna Snytsina who played a stellar role in reviving the Belarussian hopes, finishing with a game-high 17 points to go with 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
"We were sleeping right through that period in our defense," said the Lattes Montpellier small forward.
"But we (Belarus) are used to this kind of starting trouble. We always pick up as the game goes on.
"I can only hope we don't start like this tomorrow. But it's alright. It's the first game of the World Championship. What's important is we won the game," she added.
"We know it'll be typical Asian basketball. We knew Korea is a team not of size, but of great shooting. Today they shot really well. Sometimes from nine metres. We just didn’t play defense on that."
Korea made three of their eight three-point attempts in the first quarter, but after Belarus tightened the defense they finished 9 of 30 for the game.
"We began to put pressure on the ball and forced them to dribble. Once they got into the paint, we had our bigger size to help us," explained Snytsina.
We always struggle in the first few games of any tournament. - Snytsina
"We are ok with a game like this coming at this stage. We just about manage to win, but it's a good thing we keep improving."
Coach Rimantas Grigas had a more tactical explanation.
"We lost our main playmaker early. And there was panic," he said.
Tarasava was headed to the hospital for a probable MRI on her knee and a call on her availability for Sunday's game against Cuba can be taken only after that, the coach said.
"We had to make a few adjustments. That took that extra bit of time for the team to settle down. And in that time they (Korea) did some great shooting to take that lead," Grigas said.
"But I had confidence in my team. The best thing about this team is that we never give up."