‘Dragons’ first earning victory in the Baltic League
Tsmoki-Minsk women’s basketball team reaches BWBL Final Four, in Riga, and claims victory
In the semi-finals, the Minskers faced Kazakhstani Okzhetpes; as favourites, they took a confident victory, despite some resistance in the second quarter, which led to Okzhetpes leaving for a break with a big, though not catastrophic gap. However, in the second half, Andrey Vavlev’s ‘dragons’ left their opponents no chance, playing brilliantly and allowing their rivals only 14 points while forcing them to make 23 losses over 40 minutes of play. The Minsk team made 25 passes and attacked heavily. Curiously, but the best assistant among Tsmoki-Minsk players was not someone from nominal ball handlers, but Alla Muravskaya, claiming eight ‘assists’ and leading to her team’s 20-point advantage by the beginning of the final quarter. Further on, they didn’t only increase this advantage but also kept forces of the team’s leaders before the decisive fight.
The Belarusian women’s basketball champion then met Latvian ТТТ, fresh from its defeat of Grodno Olympia (which took third place). Meanwhile, at first it could seem that the ‘dragons’ would easily win the final. The ‘dragons’ stormed through the first quarter, with a score of 16:2 and went for the first break with a 14-point advantage. Meanwhile, later the Latvians gradually clawed back their points, reducing the gap by half time. The Belarusian players made both technical errors and failed to throw well from outside the arch (only 1 of 11 shots reaching its target). As a result, ТТТ was just six points behind by the major break, and approached closer afterwards, until they were only one point behind two and a half minutes before the final whistle.
Nevertheless, good defence and accurate shots from Gasper, Gorodetskaya and Zyuzkova allowed the Minsk squad to pull ahead, scoring six points to its opponent’s one and allowing the ‘dragons’, for the first time in history, to win gold medals in the Baltic League.