Basketball / Women's EuroBasket / Hungary knocks Israel out of Europe
The team was eliminated on Wednesday after losing 73-66 to Hungary, which will advance to the next round along with Group A leader Belarus.
After three consecutive appearances, the women's basketball team of Israel will not be participating in next summer's EuroBasket finals in France. The team was eliminated on Wednesday after losing 73-66 to Hungary, which will advance to the next round along with Group A leader Belarus.
"You have to put things in proportion," said Israel captain Liron Cohen after the loss. "We played against teams that were better than us. You could say in retrospect that we missed out and that we had a chance to advance, but you mustn't disrespect the others. We lost with honor, and we played some beautiful basketball most of the way."
Israel, which was blown out by Hungary at home 64-46 last month, got off to a strong start and looked the better team through most of the first three quarters. Despite being dominated under the boards - Hungary finished with a 42-28 rebounding advantage - Israel took a 20-12 lead toward the end of the first quarter and never trailed from the 7:37 mark of the opening period until the final two minutes of the third quarter.
After Hungary went up 49-47, Jennifer Fleischer scored from the paint and Shay Doron nailed a three-pointer with 0:52 remaining in the period.
Israel held a slim 52-50 lead going into the final frame but fell apart as Alexandria Quigley (20 points ) and Katalin Honti (13 points ) took control of the game. Israel scored only one field goal during the final eight-minute stretch. Cohen finished with a team-leading 19 points for Israel.
"I feel the ladies gave everything they had," concluded Eli Rabi, who is completing his fifth and final campaign as national team coach. "It was close, but regretfully not enough."
The team plays last-place Portugal on Saturday, with the outcome meaningless.