Day 5 Women: ESP 64 - KOR 61
Spain barely outlasts Korea
ATHENS - Spain took all 40 minutes of the last Olympic Women's Basketball preliminary game to hold off winless Korea by 64-61 at Helliniko Indoor Arena on Sunday night.
An 8-2 finishing run consisting solely of free throws saved Spain from what had been a 59-56 deficit with two minutes left.
The outcome did not affect the standings, as Spain (4-1) was already second in Group B and Korea (0-5) set to finish sixth.
Spain will now face Brazil, Group A's third-place team, in the quarterfinals, to start on Wednesday, 15 August at a new venue, Olympic Indoor Hall.
Amaya VALDEMORO was the only Spanish scorer in double figures with 11 points. Free throws in the final minute by Elisabeth CEBRIAN, Nuria MARTINEZ and Laia PALAU were enough to hold back Korea, however.
The Koreans got 19 points from BEON Yeon Ha, 14 from PARK Jung Eun and 10 from KIM Kwe Ryong.
With a mix of new starters, Spain started well enough, going up 12-6 at the outset on five points by Rosa SANCHEZ. Spain's offense soon stalled, however, and Korea used five points from PARK to come within 14-11 after 10 minutes.
Spain seemed to surge again in the second quarter, when four points each from centres CEBRIAN and Marina FERRAGUT made for a 24-15 lead. But here again came Korea, forcing Spain into mistakes while BEON drilled two 3-pointers to cut the deficit to 29-27 at halftime.
BEON was more dangerous in the third quarter, hitting back-to-back threes for a 35-34 Korea lead, then expanding it to 41-36 with her fifth shot from behind the arc. VALDEMORO responded with two baskets and MARTINEZ one plus an assist to tie 46-46 after 30 minutes.
To start the final quarter, Spain got 3-pointers from MARTINEZ and FERRAGUT to lead 52-48, but Korea wouldn't quit. Indeed, PARK hit a go-ahead triple with 4:00 left and followed it with a driving layup for a 59-56 Korea lead with 2:12 remaining. Spain intensified its defense, however, and hit eight of 10 free throws after that to preserve the victory.
Korea will play one more game, against Nigeria, to determine 11th and 12th place in the tournament.
Elisa AGUILAR (ESP), Guard
On the game:
"We didn't expect to be so difficult as it was. It was the last the chance for Korea to accomplish a win. We didn't manage to get the rhythm of the game, especially when Koreans started to shoot three point shots."
On the coming game against Brazil:
"It is like a final. Either Brazil or we is going to make it to the semifinals. The chances are fifty-fifty. Brazil has very tall players but I think that we are going to make it, depending on our defense."
|Press conference quotes:|
Ingrid PONS (ESP) - Centre
"We played the typical game without motivation. We didnt start well but we found our concentration in the second half and especially in the last quarter. Next game is against Brazil. It will be very tough. We play against a team with excellent exterior players but also very physical in the inside game. We player several times against Brazil and we won the most of the games. But now its a new battle and I must say that it seems like a final".
Vicente RODRIGUEZ (ESP) - Coach
"We lacked concentration and intensity at the beginning of the game. This is very dangerous when you face the best Asian team, which is without a doubt Korea. A team with great outside shooters, who take the attempt in the last second of the possession. Korea played also without pressure. We improved our defense in the last quarter and we won the game"
Jung Eun PARK (KOR) -Forward
"We wanted to go to the classification games with a victory. We tried hard, we gave our best but we didnt manage to win"
Myung Soo PARK (KOR) - Coach
"As we all know we are a very young team. I think that we were better game-by-game and we all look at the future. Today we played well against a great team".
Source: Athens news service