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Graf Helps Lift Germany to Victory in Opener of European Championships

Janna Graf. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Janna Graf. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)


KLATOVY, Czech Republic — Janna Graf, a junior guard on the Yale University women's basketball team, turned in a solid performance Thursday afternoon to help Germany's U-20 national team coast to a 95-66 victory over Romania in the first game of the U-20 European Championships.

Graf scored five points on 2-of-4 shooting (1-of-2 from 3-point range). She also tallied three rebounds, three assists and a steal in 13 minutes of action.

In her first appearance in the game, Graf entered the game with 4:49 left in the first quarter and immediately contributed to 9-0 run in which she accounted for the last five points of the scoring spurt with a 3-pointer and an assist on Christina Schnorr's jumper that put Germany ahead 22-10 with 2:09 left in the quarter.

In the third quarter, Graf came off the bench with 6:30 left. With Germany leading 72-37, she started an 11-4 run  with a lay-up and an assist on Finja Schaake's lay-up for the first four points of the scoring push. She also grabbed a defensive rebound that started a fast break that ended with a lay-up by Julia Kohlmann to cap the run and put Germany ahead 83-41 with 2:22 remaining in the quarter.

With Germany comfortably ahead, Graf came out of the game with 1:54 left in the third quarter and remained on the bench for the rest of the game.

Along with Germany and Romania, seven other teams are competing in the Division B tournament including Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Israel, and Switzerland. The top three teams in the tournament will gain a promotion to Division A.

Germany returns to the court Friday against Switzerland in a game that is scheduled to begin at 3:15  EDT.

In preparation for the European Championships, which will be played through Aug. 26, the German National Team played seven exhibition "friendly" games this summer, including three against the U-20 team from the Czech Republic, two against the Ukraine, and two against Belgium.

In the five "friendly" games from which complete statistics are available, Graf has averaged 6.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 21.8 minutes per game. In those five games, Graf made 12 of her 34 field goal attempts (35.3 percent) and six of her 17 3-point attempts (35.3 percent). 

In her strongest performance in the friendly games, Graf tallied 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line to go with five rebounds in a 98-94 overtime loss to the Ukraine on Aug. 3. It was her second double-digit scoring effort against the Ukraine. She also scored 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting to go with three rebounds, two assists and a steal in the first meeting to help Germany take a 71-53 victory on Aug. 2.

While she is gaining valuable experience on the international stage, Graf is expected to be a key contributor to Germany's quest for gold in the European Championships.

Continue to check in with and FIBA Europe's website for updates throughout the European Championships as we follow Janna's progress.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity