RIO DE JANEIRO (Rio 2016 Olympic Games) - Serbia secured their place in the Quarter-Finals of the Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament by holding off Senegal, 95-88, on Sunday afternoon.
Serbia were in control for most of the first half, taking their first double-digit lead, 25-15, late in the first quarter and then stretching that out to a 20-point advantage, 47-27, midway through the second.
A 10-0 run spanning the end of the second quarter and early part of the third had Senegal cut the deficit to single digits, 57-48. They kept on coming and were within 59-53 with 7:03 to go in the period.
However, Serbia had all the firepower needed to match - and even surpass - Senegal and they did enough down the stretch to take a second consecutive win to end their Group Phase campaign.
Turning Point: There was no turning point as such but more a general trend. Getting points on the board was not a problem for Senegal in the second half as they in fact outscored their European counterparts 45-40. However, they failed to get the defensive stops that would have seen them make further inroads into Serbia's lead in the final quarter and it meant that their opponents - with an advantage hovering around 8-10 points - could content themselves with matching them stroke for stroke.
Stats Don't Lie: Serbia scored 24 points off of Senegal's 16 turnovers.
Hero: Serbia's usual suspects of Ana Dabovic (15 points and 8 assists), Jelena Milovanovic (18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists) and Sonja Petrovic (team-high 20 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals) were reliable as ever but it was Danielle Page (15 points and 8 rebounds) whose contributions were key on the day, especially in the third quarter as she knocked down timely jumpers when Senegal were getting too close for comfort. Astou Traore deserves special mention for giving everything she had left in the tank and leading all scorers with 30 points.
Bottom Line: Serbia's reward for winning their last two games and finishing fourth in Group B comes in the shape of a Quarter-Final clash with Group A winners Australia. Senegal's run in the tournament has come to a close but they should be encouraged by their performance against Serbia.