High drama as Belarus, Belgium, France and Serbia move to Semi-Finals
STRASBOURG / VALENCIA (France/Spain) - Belarus, Belgium, France and Serbia all sealed their respective places in the Semi-Finals, as well as the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournaments after a dramatic day of action.
Serbia and Spain served up a treat in Valencia, with the former making the last four again as they took down the defending champins and co-hosts in overtime. Meanwhile Belgium edged a classic and memorable encounter against Russia to join France and Belarus in the next phase.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, Spain and Sweden will compete for the two remaining tickets to the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournaments on Saturday.
Serbia 71-64 Spain (OT)
Summary: Serbia had to come from behind in a gripping encounter with the co-hosts to get the job done. They showed nerves of steel down the game stretch in an intense atmosphere in Valencia.
Game Heroes: Sonja Vasic carried her team at the crucial time in the game and finished with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Meanwhile Nevena Jovanovic iced the vital three to make the game safe in the last minute and had a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards.
They Said: "Even though Spain did not advance, they were favorites and have been an amazing team for the last 10 years. Our generation had never been able to win against this team until now during our own journey and successes. We did not play our best game, but we never stopped believing." Serbia forward Sonja Vasic
Belgium 85-83 Russia
Summary: Belgium came out on top in an epic against Russia to reach the last four as a basket from Julie Allemand sealed the deal in the closing seconds.
Game Heroes: While Allemand executed what proved to be the game-winner, it was Emma Meesseman who showed out with the highest score of the competition to date. She finished with a superb 33 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Meanwhile Maria Vadeeva was brilliant for Russia with 30 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
They Said: "We played against a basketball nation with a lot of potential and everyone saw that on the floor. We controlled the game at most times but Russia had some huge shooting to stay in the game. It was a thriller at the end. Emma Meesseman played a huge game but I am also happy with the contribution of other players as we needed those next to Emma." Belgium head coach Philip Mestdagh.
France 80-67 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Summary: France eased past a gutsy Bosnia and Herzegovina in Strasbourg, with their opponents hurt by the absence of the injured Marica Gajic. Although it was still another physical and hard-nosed performance from the competition frontrunners as they maintained their unbeaten record.
Game Heroes: Marine Johannes excelled with 15 points and 15 assists, while Sandrine Gruda also scored 15 points, shooting 60 percent from the field. Jonquel Jones had a monumental double-double of 29 points and a record-breaking 24 rebounds in defeat.
They Said: We won the game but against a brave team in Bosnia and Herzegovina who has won the respect of everyone who is competing at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket. Now we have to get ready to do the same kind of game, but we have to start better." France head coach Valerie Garnier
Belarus 58-46 Sweden
Summary: Belarus shut down their opponents in brutal fashion with a stellar defensive effort to make the last four for a third time in their history. Sweden missed far too many looks in a nightmare 17 of 64 shooting effort which resulted in their lowest ever total in the competition.
Game Heroes: There were double-doubles for both Anastasiya Verameyenka and Maryia Papova. The former had 16 points and 10 boards, with Papova contributing 18 points, 11 rebounds and also handing out 4 assists.
They Said: "We executed the game plan that the coach drew up for us. We knew our post players were strong inside and we just kept feeding them." Belarus guard Alexandria Bentley