Preview >> USA Women vs. Belarus
Sept. 28 • Ostrava, Czech Republic
• Complete Game Notes (PDF)
TV: Live on NBA TV,
2:15 p.m. (EDT)
In the 2010 World Championship
Belarus finished preliminary round play as Group A's No. 2 seed after a 68-57 victory over China, an 83-59 loss to Australia and a 61-49 victory against Canada. Yelena Leuchanka recorded a 20-point, 12-rebound outing as Belarus topped China, while Natallia Marchanka added 10 points and Anastas Verameyenka collected 14 rebounds. In their loss to Australia, Verameyenka led with 14 points, Nataliya Trafimava added 12 points and Tatyana Troina contributed 10. Leading the way against Canada was Triona with 16 points, Verameyenka added 12 and Leuchanka secured 16 rebounds.
In the second round, Leuchanka led her team with 17 points and 14 rebounds and Verameyenka added 10 points as Belarus fell to France 58-48.
A Little History
Belarus qualified for the 2010 Worlds with a 4-5 record and fourth-place finish in the 2009 FIBA Europe Championship, earning the country its inaugural appearance in a FIBA World Championship. Belarus also made its first appearance in an Olympic competition under its own flag in 2008, finish the Beijing Olympics in sixth place with a 2-4 mark.
Players To Watch
Yelena Leuchenka, a 27-year-old, 6-5 center, is Belarus' top threat. She led her country in scoring and rebounding at the 2009 European Championship (10.6 ppg., 9.2 rpg.), 2008 Olympics (13.8 ppg., 10.0 rpg.), and is doing so again at the 2010 Worlds (13.0 ppg., 11.5 rpg.). American basketball fans may recognize Leuchanka from her time with the Charlotte Sting (2006), Washington Mystics (2007) and the Atlanta Dream (2008 & 2009).
Anastas Verameyenka is even younger and also a threat. The 23-year-old averaged
10.1 ppg. and 6.6 rpg. at the 2009 European Championship and is Belarus' second
leading scorer and rebounder in 2010 with 11.2 ppg. and 7.0 rpg.
The Scouting Report
USA Assistant Coach Marynell Meadors (Atlanta Dream)
What do you expect to see out of Belarus?
I expect to see a typical European team. They are very tall and slim. They run. They love to face up and shoot the ball. They've got three really good 3-point shooters in Yelena Leuchanka, Nataliya Trafimava and Tatyana Troina, so I know we are going to have to defend them. They really shoot the ball extremely well. They look like they play defense in an upright position, but they get the job done. We've got to come out and play really good defense and take those threes away from them and make them put the ball on the floor.
Offensively, is there something
about Belarus the USA should try to exploit?
I think driving to the rim. I think we've got to run our offenses and cuts. They are not real good at defending cutter, and they are not real good at defending dribble penetration.
You expect to see the USA contintue
to play man-to-man defense?
I expect we will be in man defense for much of the tournament. Our zone defense is there if we need it, but we probably won't play zone.