The international window once again opened as the evergreen Alina Iagupova propelled Ukraine to a memorable victory over European champions Serbia and the weekend featured wins for Italy and Slovenia as continue to lead the way in their respective groups.
Slovenia sent a statement that echoed around women’s basketball as they beat Latvia 69-51 to improve to 2-0.
Having been relatively comfortable with a double-figure advantage for most of the contest, Slovenia had their supremacy challenged when Latvia cut the gap to single digits at 50-41.
However the hosts responded with eight unanswered points and choked off Latvia’s all too-brief renaissance. Veteran Sandra Pirsic paced the Slovenians with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
France started strongly and never looked back as they grabbed a vital 79-70 road win against Croatia to remain unbeaten at 3-0.
Youngster Valerlane Ayayi demonstrated a fantastic array of youthful talent among the French side as she led the way with 15 points
Netherlands edged Estonia 66-63 in the other Group B encounter in Tallinn. Courtney Trekkers caught the eye for the visitors as she claimed a 13-point, 17-rebound double-double.
Kathrin Ress nailed the game-winner with four seconds remaining to seal a dramatic late 57-56 comeback victory for Italy over Montenegro.
Italy’s game-winner had a team-high 12 points as they improve to 3-0 and hand Montenegro a first loss in qualification.
The other Group C game saw Great Britain dismantle minnows Albania 122-36 in the newly-built Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester.
Johannah Leedham led GB with 22 points and eight rebounds in the nation’s biggest ever competitive win.
Alina Iagupova exploded for 31 points as Ukraine stunned Eurobasket Women holders Serbia 78-75 in Kiev.
Serbia led by as many as 14 points at one stage in the second period and were comfortable until Iagupova and Ukraine hit back in the third and fourth quarters for the win.
This could prove to be a wake-up call for Serbia who knew it was going to be a tricky assignment, but even without the injured Sonja Petrovic – will have expected to win. They are now 2-1, while Ukraine are sitting joyously on 3-0 at the top of the Group D.
Germany had no trouble beating Luxembourg 80-36 Nördlingen as they opened their account at the third time of asking.
Hungary improved to 3-0 in the group after they held on to a 65-54 success against neighbours Slovak Republic.
Alexandria Quigley was spectacular for the hosts, nailing five three-pointers to finish with a game-high 27 points. The Slovakians drop their first game of the group as they shot the ball woefully from outside, going an unsuccessful 0/12 from three-point land.
Portugal were 68-56 victors over winless Iceland in the other Group E clash.
A resilient Russia overturned a double-digit deficit to snatch a dramatic 67-66 success over Greece and take control of Group F.
It was a tough loss for Greece to swallow and they effectively snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It was particularly difficult for Evanthia Maltsi and Zoi Dimitrakou who combined for 40 points as Greece fell to 2-1. Russia meanwhile are in the box-seat at 3-0.
Bulgaria looked comfortable throughout their 74-55 home win over Switzerland in Ruse. Daniela Peteva had 19 points for the Bulgarians who clinched their first win of the group.
Belgium thrashed Poland 100-63 in the three-team group, which is now wide open with all sides locked at 1-1.
In the space of three second quarter minutes, a tied game got out of hand quickly, with the Belgians reeling off 15 unanswered points. Any hopes that the Polish team had of overhauling the 17-point half-time deficit were swiftly dispelled when Mestdagh single-handedly scored the first seven points of the second half as Belgium celebrated Ann Wauters’ return to the team in style.
Turkey fought out a 56-45 win over a determined Romania in Cluj to stay undefeated in the group.
The visitors held the Eurobasket Women 2015 co-hosts to just five points in the final quarter which proved to be the key to victory. The decision to recall Quanitra Hollingsworth in the naturalised spot for Turkey was vindicated as she went for 15 points.
Israel were 76-72 victors over Bosnia & Herzegovina in the other game. Shay Doron led the Israelis with 22.
Sweden claimed their first win of the group as they ousted Finland 59-49 in Helsinki.
In a close game throughout, the Swedes broke the game wide open in the fourth quarter as they held the Finns scoreless for the final five minutes for the win.