Will Sweden continue their promotion momentum in Sopron?
SOPRON (FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship 2017) – We take look at Group A of the FIBA U18 Women's European Championship 2017 which includes Sweden who gained promotion last year.
Players to Watch: Klara Lundquist has every chance of being one of the stars of the tournament in Sopron after leading Sweden to promotion last year with her MVP performances. Meanwhile, Patricia Elias has shown evidence of nice improvement in the friendly games.
Outlook: Sweden were crowned champions of Division B and at least have their leaders still around to enjoy the fruits of their 2016 toils. However, as a counter-balance, those U16 players from last year who have now moved up, suffered relegation in Udine.
Players to Watch: Paloma Gonzalez was a standout at the event last year and is the only returnee, while Ainhoa Lacorzana made the All-Star Five at U16 level in 2016.
Outlook: With a number of FIBA U16 Women's European Championship 2016 gold medal winners stepping up and Gonzalez as an anchor, Spain will be young but talented and pushing for honors as always.
Player to Watch: Both of Serbia's leading scorers at the previous edition in Ivana Katanic and Mina Djordjevic are back on board and they will need to return with that same firepower. The latter played at the FIBA U20 Women's European Championship last month and almost recorded a tournament double-double.
Outlook: With their modest 11th place finish last year, perhaps more experience this time will help them push for a Quarter-Finals spot. But they do have a tough group on paper.
Players to Watch: There will be a 1-2 backcourt and frontcourt punch delivered by Mihaela Lazic and Lucija Kostic - the same that propelled the U16 team to a terrific 5th place last summer. Lazic even made the All-Star Five.
Outlook: Croatia can rely on some fine individual players and if their main stars get some effective contributions from the supporting cast, they could be dangerous.