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Basketball - 29. May 2008.

CZE – Czechs hammer Belarus in first of two friendlies

PROSTEJOVE (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women) - Last October in Chieti, Belarus ended the EuroBasket Women title defence of the Czech Republic and went on to capture the bronze medal.

The two sides met again on Monday in the first of two friendlies ahead of June’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and Jan Bobrovsky’s Czechs cruised to a 74-46 win.

They will clash again on Tuesday in Brno, where Bobrovsky coaches many of the national team players at EuroLeague Women giants Gambrinus.

Hana Machova, the veteran playmaker who wasn’t at full strength last summer because of injuries, had 16 points to lead the winners while Katerina Elhotova weighed in with 13 and Ivana Vecerova 11.

The Czechs took command by half-time with a 39-26 lead and then blew out Belarus in the third quarter, holding them to just two points to take a 61-28 stranglehold on the game.

Anastasiya Verameyenka led Belarus with 11 points.

"I am delighted that after two slaughters in Spain that we showed a significantly better performance,” Bobrovsky said.

Last week, Spain beat the Czechs 75-57 in Segovia and 70-51 at the Torneo Palencia.

“We played well, especially on defense,” Bobrovsky added.

The Czech women are in Group B with Angola and Argentina of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Madrid which tips off on June 9, while Belarus have an extremely difficult draw.

They are in Group D with Cuba and Chinese Taipei.

While they are big favorites to finish among the top two in that pool, Belarus will take on Spain or Brazil in the quarter-finals.

The four quarter-final winners book places at the Beijing Games while the losers play in a mini-tournament to decide the fifth and final team to go to the Olympics from the qualifying tournament.


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