Underdogs Slovakia Seek A Spanish Upset

19 June 2013

EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013

14. Sancho Lyttle (Spain)
Sancho Lyttle's time on the court could be limited if Spain begin to cun away with this one

By Paul Nilsen

They're both in the second round, but on paper at least, Spain and Slovak Republic looks like a mismatch, although the Slovaks will roll their sleeves up and relish their underdog role as they seek a surprise by inflicting a first loss in their opponent.

Last Time Out: Slovak Republic were trounced 66-48 by Turkey in their last Group A game in Vannes to finish 1-2 and sneak through. Spain hammered Sweden 73-49 to make up for their two losses to the Swedes during qualification last summer.

Key Match Up: It will be interesting to see who guards Sancho Lyttle since this is a really tough job and one for the likes of either Romana Vynuchalova or Anna Jurcenkova. One of the duo is likely to have to try and contain her which will be tough, taking into account she has 14.7 points and 12.7 rebounds-per-game. Scoring against her is likely to be even more difficult as she has really been a defensive power. However, Spanish coach Lucas Mondelo may opt to rest Lyttle more in this game, especially if they get off to a good start and he can afford this luxury.

Key Stat: Spain are the leading scorers at this stage of the tournament, with 73.6 points-per-game and they won't need any second invitation to capitalise on turnovers - something which could be a big problem for the Slovak Republic, who average a decidedly worrying 20 per game.

X-Factor: Quite simply, Slovak Republic need to hope it is a day when they are at the peak of their powers and Spain are off-colour. They ke will be defence for the Slovaks, who weren't that far from holding Turkey to less than 60 points and this should be the aim again. The uglier it is, the better for Slovak Republic who will actually have a really intriguing and delicate balance to try and achieve. They might want to keep it low-scoring, but with Spain quick to get down the floor, Slovakia also like a high tempo and so it might be an uphill task to strike the right tone offensively.

From The Camps: "My team really needs me on the defensive side of the game" - Sancho Lyttle underlines that her work for the team is much more than just offensive production.

"I think our defensive side has been pretty good, but we have to have more respect for the ball" - Slovak Republic small forward Dominika Baburova.


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