Gold Medal Preview >> USA Women vs. Czech Republic
Oct. 3 • Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic
• Complete Game Notes (PDF)
Czech Republic (6-2)
TV: Live on NBA TV, 2:00
In the 2010 World Championship
Czech Republic finished preliminary round play as Group D's No. 2 seed after a 67-53 win over Argentina, a 55-52 loss to Russia and a 66-60 victory over Japan. Different players stepped up for Czech in each game. Eva Viteckova led with 16 points and Jana Vesela added 13 points and 14 rebounds against Argentina. In their loss to Russia, Hana Horakova scored 21 points. And against Japan, Ilona Burgrova talled 14 points and Edita Sujanova scored 10.
Czech Republic was a No. 3 seed out of second-round Group F after a 96-65 victory over South Korea, a 77-57 loss to Spain and a 84-70 win against Brazil. Eva Viteckova dropped 27 points on Japan; while the duo of Viteckova (16 points) and Michaea Ferancikova (13 points) reached double digits in their loss to Spain; and Viteckova led four players in double-figures with 24 points against Brazil.
In the quarterfinals Czech knocked off the No. 3 ranked team in the world and defending World Champion Australia 79-68, thanks in part to 27 points from Viteckova and 21 from Hana Horakova.
It was a hard-fought 81-77 overtime win against Belarus that earned Czech its place in today's gold medal game. Viteckova played 39 minutes and led with 21 points, Vesela played 35 minutes and had 15 points, while Hana Horakova recorded 14 points, five assists and four steals in a game-high 44 minutes and Ilona Burgrova added 10 points.
Sept. 23: Czech Republic 67, Argentina 53 • Stats
Sept. 24: Russia 55, Czech Republic 52 • Stats
Sept. 25: Czech Republic 66, Japan 60 • Stats
Sept. 27: Czech Republic 96, S. Korea 65 • Stats
Sept. 28: Spain 77, Czech Republic 57 • Stats
Sept. 29: Czech Republic 84, Brazil 70 • Stats
Oct. 1: Czech Republic 79, Australia 68 • Stats
Oct. 2: Czech Republic 81, Belarus 77 (OT) • Stats
A Little History
As the host country, Czech Republic automatically qualified for the 2010 FIBA World Championship after finishing in ninth place with a 2-4 mark at the 2009 European Championship. As the nation of Czech Republic, the country finished 5-4 at the 2006 World Championship. When you include its appearances as Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia, it has played in a total of eight previous Worlds for a 50-22 (.694) overall record.
Czechoslovakia claimed six medals in World Championship history, including silver in 1964 and 1971; and bronze in 1957, 1959, 1967 and 1975. Its best finish as Czech Republic came with its seventh place performance in 2006, and as Czechoslovakia it finished with silver in 1964 and 1971.
The USA is up 1-0 in World Championship play against Czech Republic, earning a 63-50 win in 2006, and is 5-3 against both Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia.
Interestingly, nine years ago in the 2001 FIBA U19 World Championship, which was then known as the FIBA World Championship for Junior Women, USA head coach Geno Auriemma and Diana Taurasi participated on a U.S. team that fell in the semifinals to a Czech Republic team in Czech Republic that included two players who are competing in 2010. While Taurasi averaged 19.3 ppg., 4.4 rpg., 2.7 apg. in the tournament, her 25 points and four assists were not enough to overcome 29 points from Eva Viteckova and 21 points and 10 rebounds from Jana Vesela. Taurasi and Auriemma will once again face off against Viteckova and Vesela in tonight's gold medal game.
Additionally, the USA's Lindsay Whalen has played the past three EuroLeague seasons with ZVVZ USK Prague, in the Czech Republic, for the Czech national team head coach and with many of the national team players.
Players To Watch
Eva Viteckova is her team's leading scorer with 17.6 ppg. to go with her 2.9 rpg. in 2010. Playing in 12 of the past 13 years for her national team, including at the junior level until 2001, she has averaged double-digit scoring in every year. At the 2009 FIBA Europe Championship, she checked in for 13.2 ppg., 3.8 rpg. and 1.7 apg.; in the 2008 Olympics, she averaged 11.5 ppg., 3.5 rpg. and 1.5 apg.; and she recorded 15.2 ppg., 4.0 rpg. and 1.0 apg. in the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Starting in just two of Czech's eight games, Hana Horakova is averaging a team second-best 12.1 ppg. While she did not play for Czech in 2009, she averaged 11.2 ppg., 4.5 rpg. and 3.0 apg. in the 2008 Olympics; 7.8 ppg., 5.2 rpg. and 2.3 apg. in the 2007 FIBA Europe Championship; and 14.0 ppg., 6.4 rpg. and 3.2 apg. in the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Jana Vesela is third in scoring with 8.5 ppg. but is Czech's top rebounder at 7.0 rpg. First playing for Czech in 1999, Vesela's career is highlighted by four appearances in the five FIBA Europe Championships, including 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009, when she averagaed 10.5 ppg., 5.8 rpg., 2.2 apg. She also played in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games (8.3 ppg., 7.5 rpg., 2.3 apg.) and the 2006 FIBA World Championship (9.6 ppg., 7.1 rpg., 1.7 apg.).
Czech's youngest player, 20-year-old Katerina Elhotova, who is contributing
6.2 ppg., 1.6 rpg. and 1.2 apg. in 2010, has a wealth of experience. She played
for her country in the 2007 (4.3 ppg., 1.3 rpg.) and 2009 European Championship
(7.2 ppg., 2.2 rpg.) and the 2008 Olympic Games (4.8 ppg. and 1.6 rpg.) as well
as junior teams going back to the 2004 FIBA Europe U16 Championship.
The Scouting Report
USA Assistant Coach Marynell Meadors (Atlanta Dream)
What are Czech Republic's strenghts?
They have good point-guard play. Their point guards like to push the action and get into the meat of the defense to bring everybody else in, so they can kick it out for a three. Eva Viteckova is a great 3-point shooter, so we've got to make sure that we don't get sucked into that. Overall, they play extremely hard. They are like everybody else, they committ about 17, 18 turnovers per game. Not a great free-throw shooting team, but they play so hard that they make up for mistakes that they might make on defense. I just think its going to be a great game. The atmosphere is terrific, and they are going to be a tough opponent for us.
How does this U.S. team counter the energy from
a sold-out crowd of Czech supporters?
I think we have a lot more depth than we do. We play 12 players just about every single game, and they've gotten great experience throughout the tournament. So, I think our depth is going to play a big part in our success tonight. I know that our bench brings energy, and if we can get them to come in with energy on defense, then we've got a great chance of winning this game.
What are some of the "little" things
the USA needs to take care of?
I think we've got to make sure that we defend their hand-offs. They turn the corner on a lot of those, and that penetration has really hurt teams for them. The best thing for us to do is to have our defense really step up tonight and play great. We've got to outrebound them, and we have to push the action. We need to try and tirer them out. They went into overtime last night, and their two best players played 44 minutes and 39 minutes, so we've got to make sure that we run them and take advantage of those opportunities.