Luxembourg deny Ireland history with second European Championship for Small Countries title
NICOSIA (Cyprus) - Luxembourg celebrated their second title at the FIBA Women's European Championship for Small Countries on Sunday as they denied Ireland a first-ever triumph.
It was an all-round team effort that propelled Luxembourg to a 69-59 victory with Nadia Mossong adding 12 points and 11 rebounds as one of four players in double figures to repeat their success of 15 years ago.
Luxembourg used a 14-2 burst to move ahead in the opening period and led 27-20 after 10 minutes before Ireland responded in the second to turn things around and level the score at 41-41 by half-time.
However, the third quarter would prove pivotal. Ireland opened with consecutive scores to lead 45-41 at the 9:22 mark, but Luxembourg produced a decisive spell, scoring 17 of the remaining 18 points of the quarter to establish a double-digit cushion.
The gap peaked at 16 points in the fourth as Ireland were unable to recover; finishing as runners-up for the fifth time in the tournament, while Luxembourg were able to celebrate going one step further than they managed in 2016.
Earlier, Kosovo made it onto the podium for the first time in the tournament's history as they finished strong to beat Malta, 70-60. Era Shatri starred with 17 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in a full 40-minute display with Saranda Daci also posting a double-double of 14 points and 13 boards.
Malta - who had made it onto the podium in seven of the last eight events - led by as many as 10 points at 50-40 in the third, but were held to just eight points in the final quarter to end up losing by 10 in a reversal of fortunes.