Written by Arild Sandven
& kule;June 29, 2022
The women’s national team kept up with Cyprus until the start of the third period, but failed to stem the home team’s leading quartet and delivered below par in attack.
Cyprus – Norway 81-62
– We knew they had four good players, but they got control too much offensively and some of them were also very central defense, Gunnar Nesbø stated.
– The two kill the rhythm for us, our guards struggle to find flow and we have many prominent shooters who have a very bad day on the shots.
Cyprus had no games on the opening day of the Small Countries European Championships on Tuesday and got to see Norway outclass Andorra 95-36.
Now the home team’s players came rested and the distance was better than the Norwegians.
Point guard Marissa Pangalos plays in the 2nd Bundesliga in Germany, guard Veatriki Akathiotou in the Romanian league and the versatile Serbian-Cypriot veteran Petra Orlovic (32 years and 1.78) are back in Cyprus and play for AEL Limassol.
But perhaps the most difficult was the robust and 1.92 m tall Eleni Pilakouta. The 21-year-old who plays for the University of Nebraska was both a play-off point and an attack threat, and made life more difficult for Julie McCarthy and the Norwegian forwards.
The quartet accounted for 68 of the home team’s 81 points – and thus more points than the entire Norwegian team.
Led by 25 points
Norway kept up until midway through the third period (53-48) before Orlovic, Pangalos and Pilakouta in particular began to ravage and the Norwegian attacking game stopped completely.
Cyprus was up in a 25 point lead (79-54) and it was only in the final seconds that a three point from Karyn Sanford got Norway up from the 50s in score, to 62.
The Norwegian team hit only 20.5 percent on three-pointers (7 of 34!) And 40.5 on two-point shots (15 of 37).
Kosovo Saturday, Malta Sunday
Norway now has two days rest in the tournament, before Kosovo are opponents on Saturday and Malta in the final in the Eleftheria Arena on Sunday. Gunnar Nesbø is not so sure Wednesday’s match against Cyprus was a “moral final”.
– It is difficult to say, because we know that Kosovo has several good players and that they lost to Malta. I think it is even among the top 4 teams here, so we will see how it goes, says the national team manager.
Scoring Norway: Tori Solberg Halvorsen 14, Karyn Sanford 12, Julie McCarthy 10, Stine Hoff Austgulen 8, Karoline Teigland 6, Tina Stenerud Moen 4, Fatima Mohammad 3, Synne Jacobsen 3, Ingrid Selvik 2.
Top scorer Cyprus: Petra Orlovic 24.