Septe: “We want to go higher”
SOPRON (FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship) – Just moments after making history with a 55-52 Quarter-Final victory over Belgium, Latvia’s hero on the night, Luize Septe, was making it clear it does not stop here for the Latvians.
With the Baltic nation’s leading scorer and rebounder in Sopron, Digne Strautmane, drawing her fourth foul midway through the third quarter and with her team on a five-minute scoring drought, Latvia's magical run from Division B to the Division A Quarter-Finals in just 12 months appeared set to stall.
Step up the unassuming Septe, who at that stage only had 4 points to her name. 15 minutes later, that number had climbed to 22 and Latvia were headed to their first-ever U18 Women’s Semi-Final, not to mention confirming a coveted spot in next year’s FIBA U19 Women’s World Championship, set to take place in Udine, Italy.
Aināra Čukstes uzvaras prieks! :) Pirms gada viņa vadībā U18 izkļuva no B divīzijas, šogad sasniegts PČ! pic.twitter.com/ORYM3FmHOm— Basket.lv (@basketbols) July 29, 2016
"I couldn't believe how we came back from -14 to win this game," expressed Septe, after Latvia had themselves earlier enjoyed a nine-point buffer.
"The very first time in a European semi-final – it feels unreal."
Despite Septe’s heroics at the other end of the court, the swingman pointed to her team's resolve on defence when Strautmane found herself in foul trouble, as the key factor in victory.
"The most important thing for Digna was to avoid the fifth foul. For the team we just needed to show patience on defence. We played together. It was a team win."
With a footnote in the annuls of Latvian basketball history now confirmed, don't think for a second that Septe and co. believe it to be job done in Sopron.
"There are two important games ahead and we must fight until the end. We want to get higher."