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Belgium claim historic bronze medal
PRAGUE (FIBA EuroBasket Women 2017) - Belgium cruised to an emphatic 78-45 victory over Greece to win their first ever FIBA EuroBasket Women medal.
Ann Wauters had 10 points in the first quarter, and Kim Mestdagh repeated the dose in the second period as Belgium established a healthy 11-point lead by half-time.
The wheels truly fell off for Greece with a wretched shooting performance in the third frame, with Belgium's lead swelling to 25 and ensuring that the celebrations could start early.
The Belgians made their first 17 free throws, Mestdagh draining seven herself on her way to a team-high 18 points. Emma Meesseman finished with 15, and Wauters tallied 14 points and 8 boards.
Head coach Philip Mestdagh talked about the challenge of delivering under pressure: "I told the players before the game that we have a great opportunity and we need to take it. Maybe next time we will have other teams in our group or maybe we will have injuries. This is the first time and we surprised everyone - I'm sure next time people will count on us, because they will know that Belgium have a good team."
Playmaker Julie Vanloo drained two three-pointers that sent the fans wild in the third period run, and she was ecstatic with the final result: "We deserve this bronze medal with the way we play. I can’t describe my feelings, it’s amazing. I don’t even realise it yet - I will realise it when they put the medal around my neck. I won't take it off for a week! I will go on the beach with it, I will go out with it everywhere!”
Turkey secured 5th place by defeating Latvia 72-63, with Quanitra Hollingsworth pouring in 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Isil Alben added 9 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists.
Italy took 7th place with a 71-54 victory over Slovak Republic, Maddalena Gaia Gorini notching a game-high 14 points for the Italian team.