23 - 31
July 2016
4 Elisa Pinzan (ITA)
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Pinzan keen to add to her medal collection

SOPRON (FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship 2016) - The Italian women’s teams are enjoying a glorious summer, with two silver medals already in the bag. Playmaker Elisa Pinzan is eager for more.

Pinzan has already played an integral role in a podium finish this Summer, leading her team in minutes and assists on their way to silver at the FIBA U17 Women’s World Championship in Zaragoza, where she also finished as Italy’s second-best scorer.

That follows the bronze medal Pinzan and her team won in the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship 2015 in Matosinhos, and as coach Giustino Altobelli led the U18 in pre-tournament practices in recent weeks, they watched from afar as MVP Cecilia Zandalasini led Italy to another silver in this year’s FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship at the same venue.

Ah quindi siamo tra le prime otto d'Europa? 😍🏀🇮🇹🔝🐯 #amarvi #team #teamitaly #azzurredentro

A photo posted by Paola Novati (@novats98) on

Pinzan was struck by what she saw: "This kind of example coming from above, it gives us the confidence to try to do our best, because everyone wants to try and get a medal. And I want to get another one myself!"

The tenacious point guard spoke after Italy’s Round of 16 victory over Slovak Republic, where Italy triumphed in a low-scoring affair: "It was a tough game. We knew that we would have to start well, because if they start putting pressure on us, it will become even more difficult. The intensity was very high on both ends, but if we play defence like we did in this game, it’s going to be hard for anyone to play us."

Pinzan is joined by four teammates, Martina Fassina, Beatrice Del Pero, Lorela Cubaj and Valeria Trucco, in bringing the buoyant mood of success in Zaragoza over to Sopron. It means that coach Altobelli, an assistant coach at EuroLeague Women club Beretta Famila Schio, has a young team to work with, and he has helped to mould them into a feisty defensive unit.

Tra le prime 8 d'Europa👊 #TeamItaly🇮🇹

A photo posted by Anna Togliani (@anna_togliani) on

They pushed Russia all the way on the opening day of the tournament, and their third match was a tough battle with a talented Turkish team that was ultimately decided by Pinzan’s game-winner on a great drive inside in the dying seconds.

"I’m trying to become a real playmaker, so head up, managing the team, doing my best to put everyone in position to do what they have to do," the point guard commented when discussing her personal development. "It’s a great group. We’re trying to help each other. It’s easy when you win, so we are trying to do our best to improve when it’s not going well, helping each other through the game."

Italy will need all of Pinzan’s burgeoning leadership skills when they take on a French team looking to make their sixth successive trip to the U18 Final. But that run has got to end one year, and the French should not underestimate how hungry Pinzan is to add to her collection.