Two-and-out for Israel at EuroBasket

Rabi's ladies are eliminated after coming out flat against sharp-shooting Italians.

Katia Levitsky 248.88 (photo credit: FIBA Europe)
Katia Levitsky 248.88
(photo credit: FIBA Europe)
The Israeli women crashed out of the EuroBasket tournament on Monday before they could even catch their breath. The national team suffered its second defeat in as many days in Latvia, losing 75-64 to Italy, and lost any chance of progressing to the second round after France defeated Belarus 63-61 in the second game of the evening in Group D. Israel, which will play France on Tuesday in its final game of the tournament, has now lost 16 straight games at the European Championships and is still searching for a first win in the event since 1991. Israel struggled desperately in the first 10 minutes against Italy, and all but lost the game by the end of the first period. The Italians led 32-10 after the first quarter and never allowed Israel back into the game. "Allowing more than thirty points in the quarter, that's crazy, it seemed like they couldn't miss a shot," said Israel's Liad Suez Karni, who was the only ray of light for the team, scoring 18 points. "We knew it was a big game and we were overcome by nerves. I'm disappointed. We didn't deserve to win." Shay Doron and Katia Levitsky were the side's only other players to score in double-figures, adding 14 and 10 points, respectively. "It's very disappointing that we weren't ready for the game and played so poorly in the first quarter," Doron said. "We should be ashamed of ourselves. The first quarter killed us." "The game was over after the first period," Israel coach Eli Rabi said. "We tried to fight back, but Italy played much better than us. We weren't composed enough, but we must give the Italians credit for stopping our leading players and creating scoring opportunities with their ball movement." Raffaella Masciadri, who scored 23 points, was Italy's only player in double-figures, but the team had four others who scored eight points or more, and also out-rebounded Israel 42-28. "We played very hard, a lot of intensity at the beginning, so we got the win," said Masciardi, who hit five three-pointers in the first quarter. "I think we came out with a great mentality, being very aggressive at both ends of the court and that generated our extra points." A Laura Macchi three-pointer capped Italy's 13-2 start to the game and matters would continue to deteriorate for Israel after that. The national team had no answer to Italy's spectacular three-point shooting and the gap would mushroom with every minute that passed. Chiara Pastore's free-throws to end the first quarter gave Italy a stunning 22-point margin (32-10), leaving Israel with a mountain to climb. To be fair, as poor as the Israelis were playing, it was the Italians display of red-hot sharpshooting that really put the match away. Even after mediocre marksmanship for the rest of the match, the Italians still finished a scorching 43% from beyond the arc on 21 attempts. Rabi's team began the second period with a 7-0 run, capped by a Doron jumper, but would come no closer in the first half, with Maria Franchini's buzzer beater opening a 46-26 lead at the break. Israel cut the gap slightly in the third quarter, trailing 59-45 with 10 minutes to play, and would continue to edge closer in the final period. With just over two minutes to play the national team was down by just eight points (68-60), but Italy's lead was never under any real threat and Israel slumped to its second straight defeat.