KLATOVY, Czech Republic — In its quest to claim one of three tickets into Division A for next year's European Championships, Germany needed to pull out a much-needed victory against unbeaten Hungary on Friday to move within striking distance in the final weekend of the U-20 European Championships Division B tournament.
Germany found some inspiration in the play of Yale University junior guard Janna Graf and earned the much-needed victory over Hungary, a 76-71 decision Friday afternoon that pulled Germany into third place with 10 points, just one point behind Greece and Hungary for first place in the standings with two games left to play.
The top three finishers in the nine-team tournament earn a promotion up to Division A for the 2013 European Championships. Germany's remaining schedule includes a 1 p.m. EDT game on Saturday against the host Czech Republic followed by a 8:30 a.m. EDT game against winless Bulgaria on Sunday to close out the tournament.
Graf scored seven points on 3-of-8 shooting (1-of-2 from 3-point range) to go with four rebounds to help lift Germany to the win.
In her two most-recent outings, Graf has recorded 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting (2-for-3 from 3-point range) with seven rebounds, four on the offensive end of the floor, and two assists.
Graf's afternoon didn't start out well as she entered the game and promptly put herself into foul trouble with three quick fouls in a 1:02 stretch at the end of the first quarter. She returned to the bench with 58 seconds remaining in the quarter, but not before draining a 3-pointer to put Germany ahead 20-12.
Graf returned to the court in the third quarter and made one of her four shot attempts, a layup with 2:35 left in the quarter to put Germany ahead 56-48. She also had two rebounds in the quarter.
In the fourth, Graf grabbed two big rebounds in the opening seconds of the period and followed with her final basket of the game, a jumper with 8:03 left that gave Germany a seemingly comfortable 61-51 lead.
Hungary trimmed the deficit to three points, 74-71 with 42 seconds left, but Germany held on in the closing seconds to earn the victory.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity