Standout stars: Six players that impressed in the Group Phase
KONYA (Turkey) - With the Group Phase in the books at the FIBA U18 Women's European Championship, it's the perfect time to check out which ballers have been lighting it up so far in Konya.
Here's a selection of just some of the players who have impressed during the first three days of action at the event.
Iyana Martin - Spain
One of the leading names on the watchlist heading into the competition, Martin is warming up nicely for Spain. The free-scoring guard has looked a potential MVP in waiting - even without eye-popping numbers. She's played with composure to average 14.0 points, 5.7 assists and 4.3 boards per game. Those numbers would have been higher had Spain not used her sparingly, because Martin is about clutch time down the tournament stretch. Ominously, she leads the competition in field goal percentage and is second for assists.
Annika Soltau - Germany
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Soltau has been showing her strength at both ends of the floor for Germany and is currently one of the most outstanding players in the competition. In fact, she is leading the tournament in rebounding and blocked shots, as well as being third in scoring, highlighting her stellar campaign. Soltau has posted a tournament double-double of 20.7 points and 12.3 boards per game so far, while defensively, she's used her wing span to become the 'Swat Queen' in Konya with almost three blocks per outing and had 5 in her last game.
Clara Silva - Portugal
Complete domination 😳— NextGen Hoops (@NextGenHoops) July 4, 2023
🇵🇹 Clara Silva's Group Phase statline is just ridiculous 🤯💥
📊 22.0 PTS | 11.0 REB | 2.3 AST | 2.0 BLK | 1.3 STL | 26.7 EFF#FIBAU18Europe x @fpbasquetebol pic.twitter.com/mhTiehrraO
The tournament's leading scorer after the Group Phase, while also being ranked number one in the efficiency chart and second in rebounds is all you need to know about the majestic work of Silva so far. She catapulted Portugal to top spot in their group and has looked largely unstoppable after averaging a magnificent 22.0 points and 11.0 boards per game. Silva has also blocked 2 shots per outing too, showing she is a sound defensive anchor. But she is not just about her size or work in the paint, since she has also handed out 2.3 assists too.
Marija Avlijas - Serbia
Predicted on the pre-tournament watchlist to show why she is a scoring machine, Avlijas has also demonstrated that she is about much more than putting points on the board. Her 5.0 assists per game is excellent and the third best by any participating player. With more than 18 points per game, she has actually achieved this average despite not getting her downtown game going yet. If she now finds her range from behind the arc, she'll turn up the dial on her offensive output and will be a nightmare defensive assignment for opponents.
Lea Bartelme - Slovenia
Even if she couldn't participate in the last group game, it only took two outings for Bartelme to show that Slovenia are not only about her teammate Ajsa Sivka. The play of the guard has been exceptional and she is leading the way in the tournament for assists with 6.5 per game - that is also the same number she has pulled down in rebounds - with that production sitting alongside her average of 11.0 points. A leader on the floor, Slovenia will want to have her back if they want to make the deep run they crave in the competition.
Marine Dursus - France
A watchlist baller heading into the tournament, Dursus has not disappointed with a classy contribution for the unbeaten France. Highly efficient, her smart shot selection has resulted in 64 percent field goal shooting which is second best in the tournament. Her high IQ play has shone through. She's also strong on and off the ball, handing out 3.0 assists per game and grabbing 2.0 steals. You can expect Dursus to increase her influence even more when games become more intense and competitive for her podium chasing team.