We stepped on the court with high stakes today because the two lost games meant that we had to win to finish in the top eight to qualify for the Hungarian Cup.
Our starting five consisted of Hungarians only as Dorci Koch and Berta Boros were part of the first five. After a basket by Beatrix Mérész, TF took the lead and kept ahead by 1-2 points (8-10). Beatrix Mérész scored followed by a double by Tímea Czank which allowed us to take the lead (14-10). Gergana Ivanova scored our third triple not long after this prompting Bianka Magyar to take her first timeout. The end of the quarter worked better for us and with a triple by Gergana Ivanova, we were in the lead after the first 10 minutes, 26-19.
The beginning of the second quarter saw a basket shower as neither team played defense very well. TF came back to 28-25 when our centers, Judie Barnai and Beatrix Mérész led the team to get away by 10 points by the 14th minute (35-25). With another basket by Judie Barnai, the difference grew to 12 but then a silent period followed without any baskets on our side. Fortunately, we worked well on defense, so we manage to keep our lead which remained ten points at halftime (45-35).
At halftime, Beatrix Mérész already had 18 points and Judie Barnai collected 10. In rebounding, TF was ahead, and it was especially upsetting that we allowed them to collect too many offensive boards.
Our two centers, Judie Barnai and Beatrix Mérész, started off the second half with scoring (49-35) but TF kept in the game. After an offensive putback after a Király triple, they came back, 50-42. Julcsi Boros scored a triple at the buzzer but during this period, TF dominated, climbing back within reach, 53-48. The ten-point difference was restored by two free throws by Julcsi Boros, and one free throw each from Beatrix Mérész and Gergana Ivanova (58-48). We kept this lead before the last quarter (63-53).
TF started the last period with a 0-4 run followed by a timeout by Judit Balogh. We fought on offense and kept increasing our lead with free throws then with another triple by Beatrix Mérész and 5 minutes before the end, the difference was back to 10 points (70-60). We could not relax however, because after a guest timeout, two triples were made by the Bianka Magyar team, then after a Pavel basket, our lead melted away (70-68). A basket by Gergana Ivanova helped us along and when TF got a technical foul for complaining, we could breathe again after a Tímea Czank free throw (73-68). Tapley scored a free throw (73-69) and then the absolute MVP of the game, Beatrix Mérész, returned for the last minute and scored our 75th point. There was no way back for the guests from here – the 10-point difference was restored (79-69) and this win broke our losing streak. This was our 5th win of the season!
This means, that at the half of the regular season, we made it to the top eight teams thus qualifying for the Hungarian Cup! This was bumpy road, as we beat the most difficult opponent to get here but the most important is that the girls found their way back to the road they were on as a team and this is very promising for the future!
ELTE-BEAC ÚJBUDA – TFSE-MTK 79-69 (26-19, 19-16, 18-18, 16-16)
ELTE-BEAC Újbuda: Koch 3/3, Czank 12/3, Boros B. 2, Mérész 29/6, Barnai J. 15. Subs: Joseph 2, Ivanova 9/6, Orosz, Boros J. 7/3, Zsámár.
TFSE-MTK: Theodoreán 12/6, Tapley 7, Jenkins 9/3, Király 3/3, Dúl 17/9. Subs: Baa 7, Pavel 5, Németh 9, Burján.