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FIBA U17W - Scintillating Spain sweep aside hosts to reach another Final
PILSEN (FIBA U17 World Championship for Women) - Spain proved to be an unstoppable force in the Semi-Finals of the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women as they stormed into another Final of the competition with a scintillating 73-41 success against Czech Republic.
The Spaniards got onto the front foot early and never relinquished control in a superb display as the disappointed hosts struggled to recover from a lightning start by their opponents.
Vastly different from the very tight final of the U16 European Championship Women last year, Spain jumped out into an 8-0 lead with Angela Salvadores making one of the plays of the tournament by executing an exquisite reverse assist.
After almost five minutes without scoring, the hosts finally got rolling via a three-pointer by Petra Holesinska, but it didn't slow down Spain at the other end of the floor with captain Maite Cazorla leading by example.
They continued to dominate and led 21-4 after 10 minutes, keeping the accelerator pushed down hard in the second period and brutally punishing Czech Republic, who wilted under the defensive intensity.
Converting a flurry of fast-break scores from turnovers, Spain amassed a super 15 steals to build a 40-25 advantage heading to the locker rooms at the break and with one foot already firmly in the Final.
The home fans dreamed of a salvage mission after the interval and it duly arrived as the Czech players almost cut the deficit in half at 42-29, with Michaela Matuskova laying down a new defensive attitude and Julia Reisingerova getting supporters out of their seats with a monstrous block.
But, the renaissance was all too brief as Laia Raventos drilled a big triple to quell the fight back and restore Spain's authority which helped them cruise over the finishing line in the last quarter.
Tereza Sipova added 10 points and five rebounds for Czech Republic who will now compete for the bronze medal in the Third-Place game.