Israel Cruise Past Germany
Orli Klinger ,09/02/2008
Israel's women's national team is now a win or a Lithuania loss away from clinching a spot in the 2009 European Championship following a convincing win over Germany, 74 – 59. Israel dominated the game through out, in front of a packed gym. Shay Doron led the way with 25 points – a new career high in the white and blue uniform.

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Israel 74 – Germany 59
Right from the start it was evident Germany simply does not have the tools on offense to handle Israel, especially on a day when their star player got in serious foul trouble and wasn't a factor. Israel led 35-25 at the half, opened up a 22-point lead four minutes into the 3rd and cruised from there. The Germans who turned the ball over 28 times, were able to cut into the lead a bit in the 4th but the final margin really doesn't matter.

Israel and Germany met just two weeks ago in Germany where Israel squeezed out a 68-66 win. "In Germany we played bad defense and it gave them confidence early on, they didn't miss. Today I knew it wasn't going to happen, there's no way she's scoring 20-30 points today" said Shay Doron who led Israel with 25 points and improved her previous career high with the national team, 23 which she set in that game in Germany. Doron of course was talking about Germany's star Anne Breitreiner, who scored 31 against Israel in the first game but was held to 7 points today. Breitreiner fouled out in just 16 minutes, Doron drew two charges from her out of many, Doron alone shot more free throws than the entire German team. "The 2nd time around you know what to expect, we played great defense today and we were aggressive, we took her out of the game", said Doron. Israel now needs one more win to lock up a spot in Latvia 2009. "Latvia is a lucky place for us, but we need another win, until then I will not sleep well at night", she finished.

"I would want to see our offense flows better, there were some nice plays but there are minutes we get stuck. I am happy with our situation today though", said Eli Rabi. "If Lithuania lose tomorrow to the Ukraine and we officially make the European Championship I would be very very happy. We're going to play in the Ukraine for the #1 spot in the bracket, that should be a good test for the actual Championship. We want to do better there than we have before".

"I hope the Ukraine win tomorrow so we'll know we're in and can have a nice weekend", said Liron Cohen. "Still we look at ourselves, we have two games and we have to win one, but we want to finish 1st in the bracket. We have a great 3-game winning streak, 2 of them on the road, which isn't something that has happened in recent years. It's important we keep it going because in sports, you're only as good as your last game". Despite the somewhat easy win, Israel didn’t really play its best basketball today. "We seem to play better on the road, maybe it's the excitement from the fans, we really want to give a good show here so people will enjoy it. Sometimes it costs us with silly things early on. Obviously we had a little letdown mentally after two tough road wins, but we still won in this manner. It's a new age for the national team".

There was no score in the 1st two minutes of the game, until Laine Selwyn with two fastbreaks helped Israel race to an 8-0 lead. Germany took 4:30 minutes before getting on the board, a 3 by Breitreiner, and added another hoop to cut it to 5-8. Israel played strong man to man and was first to every loose ball, and despite the offense not flowing so well the lead grew to 11-5 as Doron hit free throws. The Germans got within 12-13 after a few Israeli turnovers, Liron Cohen with a drive made it 15-12 after 10 minutes. Breitreiner already had 3 fouls and was heavily bothered by the Israeli defense.

Israel pushed the lead to double figures with nice drives by Cohen and Nomi Kolodny, 23-12 after 3 minutes. The Germans scored just 10 points in the quarter, Doron woke up with a great drive and points off Selwyn's pass in the open court as Israel opened up its biggest lead yet, 31-17 with 3 to go in the half. Germany's situation got even worse as Breitreiner picked up her 4th, Israel led 35-25 at the half.

Israel again held Germany scoreless for a good few minutes but this time made them pay offensively as well. Doron with a fearless 3-point play, Liad Suez Karni with points inside and out and Cohen with a 3 capped off a 12-0 run which set the score at 49-27 after four minutes. Israel made enough nice plays to maintain the lead, like Selwyn's 'and 1' that sent Breitreiner to the bench for the rest of the night, and a 3 by Doron who had 10 points in the quarter, 57 – 35. In the last minute Cohen with a strong drive and a fastbreak layup made it 63-39.

The 4th quarter was strictly for the record, Israel took 3 minutes to score but it didn't matter much. Doron drew another foul and Selwyn had another 3-point play with 3:30 to play that made it 70-48, and Eli Rabi sent in the bench. Germany was able to cut the lead a bit but the margin is meaningless.

For Israel:
Shay Doron 25 pts
Liron Cohen 13 pts
Laine Selwyn 12 pts
Liad Suez Karni 11 pts
Jennifer Fleischer 5 pts
Merav Dori & Nomi Kolodny 4 pts each

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