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Luxembourg avoid Danish, Malta take last Semi-Final spot
CORK (FIBA Women’s European Championship for Small Countries) – Luxembourg have defeated Norway to avoid the red-hot Danes in the Semi-Finals, whilst Malta have claimed the last remaining Semi-Final spot.
Luxembourg and Norway tipped off Thursday action, in a direct battle for top spot in Group B. More than that, it would mean avoiding Denmark in the Semi-Finals. Norway produced their most complete first half to date, and went into the locker rooms only trailing by two. However, their characteristic third quarter charge failed to materialize, as Luxembourg locked down their defense to keep Norway to 12 points in the second half and ease to the 66-39 win.
Norway can now turn their attention to a Scandinavian showdown on Saturday, against Denmark, who went by the 100-point mark for a second day running, defeating Moldova 146-35. The Danes have now scored 358 points and conceded just 126 – an average winning margin of 77.
One of their victims so far has been Malta. But since then, the defending champions have settled into their work nicely, knocking over Gibraltar 71-32 in Thursday’s late game, to lock in the last ticket to the final four. Malta led from the opening score, allowing coach Enrico Gilardi to empty his bench.
Finally, Fiona O’Dwyer gave the hosts something to smile about, her 14-point, 12-rebound double-double taking Ireland past Cyprus 73-54. Both teams were already out of Semi-Final contention, but with the minor placings still to be fought for, the win will give Ireland momentum going forward.
In Saturday’s minor games, Ireland face off against the winless Moldova, whilst Gibraltar meet with Cyprus.