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Spain beat Korea to clinch Rio 2016 spot
NANTES (2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament) - A scintillating performance by Sancho Lyttle paved the way for a triumphant Spain to beat Korea and become the first team to secure one of the five tickets on offer for the Rio Olympics.
In the first of Friday's 2016 FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament (WOQT) Quarter-Finals, Lyttle and Alba Torrens combined for 36 Spain points as they cruised to a 70-50 win.
Turning Point: After four lead changes in the first six minutes of the game, Spain used a 9-0 spurt to close the first quarter with a 19-11 advantage. While Korea would respond with a run of eight unanswered points to tie the game at 23 in the second quarter, Torrens hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the period that gave the Spaniards a comfortable 36-25 half-time lead and never looked back. To make matters worse for the Koreans, Park Jisu limped off the court midway through the third quarter, following an apparent ankle injury and she did not return.
Stats Don't Lie: Knowing that Korea had averaged 10 made three-pointers over their two Group Phase games, Spain instilled an aggressive perimeter defense that prevented the East Asians from making a single shot from beyond the arc in the opening quarter. Ultimately, We Sungwoo's team connected on only 1-of-8 long range attempts and turned the ball over 21 times.
Game Hero: Lyttle had a stellar performance, finishing with 20 points and 13 rebounds in the winning effort. The 1.93m power forward destroyed Korea's defense, hitting 9-of-16 field goals.
The Bottom Line: A deserved win for a team that played hard and now will return to the Olympics for the first time since 2008. Although Korea competed for most of the first two quarters, the game belonged to Lucas Mondelo's side.