Spain held off Serbia 65-59 in a Group B women’s basketball prelim, despite a strong effort from Serbia’s Jelena Milovanovic. The balanced scoring of Spain proved to be too much for Serbia.
Spain had seven women score at least 6 points, led by Marta Xargay, who had 15 points. Astou Ndour (11 points, 12 rebounds) and Anna Cruz (13 points, 11 rebounds) each contributed a double-double.
Serbia started off hot as they jumped out to an early 13-4 lead. Spain bounced back with a 15-5 run to take a 19-18 lead after one quarter. Both teams traded baskets in the second period and were tied 31-31 at the half.
The foul trouble of Jelena Milovanovic limited her to what was still a game high 17 points. Serbia’s offensive catalyst picked up her 4th foul with nine minutes remaining in the final frame. Danielle Page and Sonja Petrovic helped keep Serbia in the game while having 14 and 12 points respectively.
Down the stretch Spain was more aggressive of the offensive glass. The Spanish outrebounded the Serbians 18-5 on the offensive side. This led to more scoring opportunities for Spain as they took 14 more shots than Serbia.
The game went back and forth as the largest lead from the first quarter on until the final two minutes of the game was just six points. Both teams demonstrated through fluid offense and stout defense why each has medal aspirations in the tournament.
Serbia will square off against Canada on Monday at 1:15pm ET, while Spain will meet the juggernaut that is the United States at 11:00am ET.