|07 July 2012|
EUROBASKET WOMEN QUALIFIERS
|Center Anna Jurcenkova had nine points and eight rebounds for the Slovak Republic|
Hosts Slovak Republic survived late drama in Poprad to take a significant step towards qualification for EuroBasket Women next summer, after edging a nail-biting contest with their main Group C challengers, Lithuania, 60-58
While Ivan Vojtko and his players can be satisfied with inflicting a vital 60-58 loss on their opponent, it was a particularly nervous finale for all involved and not least for second placed Slovenia - this result is arguably the worst possible outcome for the other team with hopes of advancing.
The home side made a terrific start to the game, racing out into an early 15-7 advantage although the visitors narrowed the deficit to just four points heading to the locker rooms at the interval.
When Ivana Jalcova capitalised on a sluggish start to the second half by Lithuania and handed Slovakia a 44-27 lead, a comeback looked wholly unlikely but Algirdas Paulauskas changed up the defence and it caused a fascinating last quarter.
Lithuania held Slovakia to just eight points in the last period to produce an unlikely comeback led by Ginatre Petronyte who was too hot to handle under the hoop at times and found herself on the line an eye-popping 17 times.
The visitors could have even forced overtime but Sandra Linkeviciene missed the pivotal shot in the last seconds before Gabriela Kubatova grabbed the all-important defensive rebound.