Podium joy for local favorites Serbia
BELGRADE (Serbia) - Another big crowd in Belgrade celebrated co-hosts Serbia take the bronze medal after shooting down Great Britain in the Third-Place Game at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019.
Marina Maljkovic and her players climbed back onto the podium steps for a third time in recent times, having won their maiden title at the event in 2015, prior to a historic bronze medal at the Olympics in Rio.
The commanding 81-55 victory came against a Great Britain team who had never even made it as far as the Quarter-Finals previously. The triumph was founded on some red-hot form from long-range as Serbia managed to drop a succession of triples in the first half to take control. Sonja Petrovic impressed with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Temi Fagbenle netted 23 points in defeat.
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"I want to congratulate my players. I am proud of each one of them and all of them who have been practicing in these last months and did not make the roster," said Serbia head coach, Marina Maljkovic.
"The players proved they are not just great basketball players but they are heroes. The way they play is the right way. Everyone should play this kind of way for the national jersey. We are happy we got the medal and I also want to congratulate the fans and the organizers."
Meanwhile guard Nevena Jovanovic was quick to refer the difficulties experienced in preparation and the long path to the last podium step.
She added: "The last two months have been extremely hard work, but what we will all remember is taking this medal. And for that, I am extremely happy to be part of this team.
"We always do the same thing when we are on the court in the Serbian national team jersey. We give everything and compared to the other medals we won, if feels the same in terms of happiness, but also different and special because we did it in front of our own fans."
Both nations will also appear in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments during February 2020, although their next priority will be the first FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2021 Qualifying window during November of this year.