Meskonyte, Lithuania stun Ukraine in overtime; Czechs defeat Belarus
ORADEA (FIBA U20 Women's European Championship 2018, Division B) – It did not take long for Gabija Meskonyte to leave her mark on the FIBA U20 European Championship 2018, Division B in Oradea, as Lithuania pulled off a miracle turnaround to defeat Ukraine in overtime 80-77 on the opening day of the tournament.
The 20-year-old forward came up with all the right answers at the end of regulation, including a fantastic long-range three-pointer in the closing moments of the Group A contest, and helped the Baltic side force the extra period, despite not holding the lead once in the first four quarters.
Meskonyte finished the contest with a team-high scoring mark of 20 points and 6 rebounds; Martyna Petrenaite also collected 20 points, while Rasa Knyzaite was just shy of a triple-double with 9 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists.
A visibly shell-shocked Ukraine saw the game slip out of their hands in overtime, even with Nataliia Tsiubyk turning in a 26-point effort on 7-of-14 three-point shooting.
In the other opening day fixtures in Group A, Israel and Romania also inscribed victories, with Israel downing Great Britain 72-55 and the tournament hosts opening the action with a 65-47 win over Greece.
Meanwhile, Czech Republic stole the spotlight in Group B by registering a 65-58 victory over Belarus in a battle of two European women's basketball powerhouses. Veronika Vorackova led the way for the Czechs with 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks, while Patricia Gallasova added 12 points in 21 minutes of action.
Elsewhere, Bulgaria got their campaign rolling in Group B with a convincing 75-48 win over Iceland, while the Ilayda Guner-led Turkey defeated Denmark 72-51 after outscoring their opponents by 16 points in the fourth quarter. Guner had 25 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks in the win, with Lena Svanholm collecting a 15-point and 10-rebound double-double in a losing effort for the Danes.