17 - 27
June 2021
20 Alexandria Bentley (BLR)
to read

Belarus upset co-hosts Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina stun Belgium on opening day

STRASBOURG / VALENCIA (France / Germany) - There was a double surprise on the opening day of the FIBA Women's EuroBasket as Belarus pipped reigning champions Spain and  Bosnia and Herzegovina took down one of the tournament favorites Belgium.

Meanwhile there was joy for the locals in Strasbourg as France made a statement of intent with a huge victory against Croatia, while Italy and Serbia played out an overtime thriller in Valencia.

Belarus 53-51 Spain

: A last-gasp score by Alexandria Bentley sealed a famous victory for Belarus against Spain. In a defensively-dominated contest, Belarus were able to fend off a Spanish side who struggled to impose themselves offensively throughout.

Game Heroes: Maryia Papova claimed an excellent double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds for Belarus.

They Said: "We believe in ourselves and each other. We have to continue playing with that confidence. The journey isn't over and we have to keep it going." Belarus guard, Alexandria Bentley.

 Bosnia and Herzegovina 70-55 Belgium 

: Bosnia and Herzegovina wrote the headlines on their first outing in the competition since 1999 as they claimed a famous win over the highly-rated Belgium  in Group C. 

Game Heroes: Nikolina Babic had an extraordinary debut in the competition as she shot 90 percent from the floor en-route to 23 points and also had 4 steals. Meanwhile Jonquel Jones completed a double-double of 13 points and 17 boards. Emma Meeseman was excellent for Belgium with a massive 24 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists.

They Said: "I am so happy about this team because we showed that we can fight against any team, as we said before the tournament. We can beat even Belgium who are the favorites of this group." Bosnia and Herzegovina head coach, Goran Lojo

Serbia 86-81 Italy (OT)

: A Sonja Vasic-inspired Serbia dug out a memorable victory in Group B against Italy as a late revival forced overtime, prior to them continuing their momentum during the extra period. 

Game Heroes: Vasic was sensational in every way and at both ends of the court. She finished with an efficency rating of 35 after a dazzling line of 27 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists and one huge block down the game stretch.

They Said: "Before the game we expected it would be hard, but we maybe didn't expect it go to overtime. However,  I am proud of how we came back and I think we can only get better." Serbia center, Tina Krajisnik

France 105-63 Croatia

Summary: France were just too good and too deep for Croatia as the co-hosts made a scorching start to the competition in a classy team effort. Although a worrying ankle injury to Olivia Epoupa did sour things a little.

Game Heroes: It was a terrifc team effort with no fewer than nine French players wrapping up double-digit scoring returns. Alexia Chartereau was arguably the pick with 15 points and 7 rebounds ,while Marine Johannes entertained as usual. 

They Said: "We are happy because all the players on the team brought something for us to get this first win." France forward, Alexia Chartereau 

Russia 73-69  Czech Republic 

: Russia had to work hard to hold off Czech Republic in an absorbing Group D contest in Strasbourg. Russia were impressive on the glass and it proved to be a difference-maker as they out-boarded their opponents 45-35.

Game Heroes: Maria Vadeeva had spoken about how she was tired of losing with Russia and showed her determination to change that with a spectacular 27 point and 16 rebound double-double. Meanwhile Alena Hanusova fired an impressive 24 points in defeat.

They Said: "How we played at the start of the fourth quarter was unaacceptable but in the end we showed character and it waa a good win in a close and tough game." Russia center, Maria Vadeeva.

Montenegro 70-55 Greece

: Montenegro proved too hot to handle for short-handed Greece  in Group B as the winning side won the battle on the glass by a commanding 42-26 as they imposed themselves physically on their opponents. 

Game Heroes: Montenegro were fuelled by a smart show from Jovana Pasic who had the highest efficiency in the game with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 asissts. Angeliki Nikolopoulou was unfortunate to be on the losing team with 19 points and 7 assists.

They Said: ""We respected everything we discussed during our preparation for the game. We played with great energy on defense and that’s how we had confidence on offense. We played an excellent 40 minutes and as long as we play like this, we can compete against any team." Montenegro head coach, Jelena Skerovic

Sweden 74-57 Slovakia 

: Sweden (1-0)  took control early and never relinquished their grip against Group A underdogs Slovakia (0-1). The experience of Sweden's Eldebrink sisters showed as they helped keep their team's  turnovers down to just nine.

Game Heroes: Frida Eldebrink fired 17 points and dished out 7 assists, as did her sibling Elin, who also added 15 points. 

They Said: "I am super happy with the win and especially for the young players who were making their debuts. It will now be exciting and special to play against co-hosts Spain in the next game. It will be an amazing atmosphere." Sweden guard, Frida Eldebrink

Slovenia 72-47 Turkey 

: Turkey had no answer to a vibrant Slovenia in this Group C clash as the Balkan side cruised their way to an eye-catching success.

Game Heroes: Eva Lisec and Teja Oblak led the way for Slovenia, with the former contributing 17 points and 8 rebounds, while the latter contributed 14 points and 6 assists.

They Said: "That was my best Birthday gift ever. We are aware of our qualities and we are really not afraid of anyone." Slovenia center, Eva Lisec