Basketball – illustration photo.
Tel Aviv – The Czech women's basketball players defeated Israel 61:52 at the European Championship in Tel Aviv and advanced from second place in Group B to the round of 16. On Monday, they have a match against Greece, which after defeating Spain 60:76 finished third in the “A”. The winner advances to the quarter-finals in Ljubljana.
The best Czech scorer today was Veronika Voráčková with 16 points, who played in the championship for the first time after injuring her ankle in the warm-up against Slovakia. Captain Renáta Březinová (14) and Eliška Hamzová (10) also scored double-digit points. Not even Daniel Raber's 20 points helped Israel to succeed.
The Czechs advanced from the basic group for the first time since 2015, when they finished eleventh. In the next three championships, the tournament ended for them in the last place in the group.
“In my opinion, it was a very ugly game from both sides, it wasn't very nice basketball. But, unfortunately, this is how the game is played for promotion. It was a very unpleasant opponent with a specific defense, we struggled a lot for every basket, but we managed it and we are in round of 16,” Hamzová told journalists after the match.
Entering the match, the Czech team was successful and captain Renáta Březinová and Tereza Vyoralová contributed to the opening eleven-point lead with threes. The home team got the first basket only after six minutes and 20 seconds thanks to Jarden Garzon.
“After a good start, we started losing balls, defending poorly, they got caught and things went downhill. We had to fight until the end. Unfortunately, the promising start got away from us and we had to worry about them until the end,” Hamzová pointed out.
In the 7th minute, Voráčková got into the game for the first time in the tournament, hit all four of her first attempts and contributed to the 19:9 lead. At the turn of the first and second quarter, the home team lost a 7-0 series and three times got within two points. The Czechs did jump to 32:25, but at halftime it was only two points again.
In the 25th minute, Raberová equalized at 38:38. Březinová responded with a three-pointer, but after a basket by Eden Rotberg and two free throws by Garzon, Israel led for the first time 42:41. Thanks to Voráčková's five points, the Czech team ended the third quarter with a four-point lead.
The struggling Israelis, who needed a win of at least 12 points to advance, dropped the score to 44:46 at the beginning of the final part. In the end, Eden Zipelová corrected the score with a three-pointer to make it 52:54, but Hamzová secured the lead with a converted six-point basket, added two more free throws, and Andělová closed the score.
The Czech team played the first two matches in a cozy atmosphere, this time the support of 1421 spectators was palpable. “I have to say that it was all the more difficult, it was hard to hear in the defense. I wouldn't even mind if the spectators weren't there. I had the feeling that the referees were a little carried away. When the spectators weren't there, we created the atmosphere ourselves,” she said Hamzová.
At the end, her important free throws were accompanied by a deafening scream. “The atmosphere was stormy, but I didn't notice it much. Maybe during the first six, but not after that,” Hamzová added.
ME basketball players in Slovenia and Israel:
Group B (Tel Aviv):
Israel – Czech Republic 52:61 (11:19, 30:32, 42:46)
Composition and points Czech Republic: Březinová 14, Hamzová 10 , Stoupalová 6, Vyoralová 5, Holešínská 3 – Voráčková 16, G. Andělová 5, Šípová 2, Čechová, Sklenářová, Zeithammerová.
Most points for Israel: Raberová 20, Rotbergová, Zipelová both 8.
Fouls: 16:17. Free throws: 12/13 – 12/16. Triples: 4:5. Rebounds: 36:38.
Belgium – Italy 72:64 (43:39)
Most points: Vanloo 23, Meesseman 20, Linskens 13 – Andre 17, Zandalasini 11, Keys 10.