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Hosts France crowned U16 Women's European champions to end 10-year title drought
BOURGES, France (FIBA U16 Women's European Championship 2017) - Tournament hosts France were crowned FIBA U16 Women's European champions after defeating Hungary 63-55 in Saturday's Final in Bourges.
With the win, the French ended a decade-long drought as their last title in the competition dated back to 2007. For Hungary, the second-place finish matches their best-ever result, previously achieved in the event's inaugural edition in 1976.
The Hungarians led 22-10 midway through the second quarter but France fought back and, spurred on by the partisan fans in Le Prado, went on a 16-2 run to head into the locker room up 26-24 at halftime. It shifted the game's momentum in their favor for good as they stretched their lead into double digits over the course of the third quarter before staving off a late rally by Hungary in the final frame.
Zoe Wadoux and Iliana Rupert led the way for France, with the former scoring a game-high 22 points, while Rupert had a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Reka Dombai had 16 points in Hungary's losing cause.
Rupert was rewarded for her fine performances throughout the tournament, landing the MVP accolade to complement her winner's gold medal. She was joined in the All-Star Five by teammate Wadoux, Hungary's Dombai, with Italy's Ilaria Panzera and Emily Bessoir of Germany rounding out the prestigious lineup.
Earlier, Italy overcame Latvia to deny them a first-ever medal in the competition and secured the last step on the podium for themselves thanks to a hard-fought 48-42 win in the 3rd Place Game. It is the second time in three years that Italy have taken bronze.
Spain snapped up the last remaining ticket for the FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup 2018 by outlasting Germany 54-49. They joined France, Hungary, Italy and Latvia in securing places in the fifth edition of the global event that will take place in Minsk, Belarus from July 21-29 of next year.
At the other end of the spectrum, Netherlands beat Lithuania 67-59 to finish in 13th place and maintain their Division A status for 2018. Lithuania, as hosts of next year's edition of the Championship, got a special dispension to remain in the top tier despite finishing 14th. As a result, Belarus and Romania were the two teams demoted to Division B.
Their replacements in Division A for 2018 will be the top two teams at the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship 2017 Division B taking place in Skopje, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MKD) from August 17-26.
FIBA (fiba.basketball) - the world governing body for basketball - is an independent association formed by 213 National Basketball Federations throughout the world. It is recognised as the sole competent authority in basketball by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).