08 - 16
July 2017
22 Maria Conde (ESP)
to read

Group A Preview: Holders Spain still the team to beat

MATOSINHOS (FIBA U20 Women's European Championship 2017) – We look at Group A of the FIBA U20 Women's European Championship 2017 and the prospects of holders Spain defending their title and the initial threat posed by Belgium, Poland and Sweden.


    Salvadores can be sensational to watch when she finds her rhythm

Players to Watch: All eyes will be on EuroLeague Women participant Angela Salvadores, who has been a sensation at youth level but is yet to convince Lucas Mondelo she is worthy of senior minutes. In stark contrast, Maria Conde arrives at the event with a gold medal in her pocket from FIBA EuroBasket Women 2017.

Outlook: With an astonishing eight consecutive Finals behind them and now looking to rack up a third title in a row, Spain will retain their usual label as being the standard bearers and the team to beat. Meanwhile, nobody quite knows about success at these tournaments like veteran and highly respected head coach, Jose Hernandez.


      Geldof was part of the ground-breaking senior side in Prague

Players to Watch: It will be a boost if Serena-Lynn Geldof makes the leap from The Final Round at FIBA EuroBasket Women where she was a late replacement and ended up standing on the last podium step. The center could be dominant. Also look out for possible frontcourt partner Laura Henket, who was very productive at U18 level last year in Sopron.

Outlook: It will be hard to repeat the fifth-place finish of last year which was fueled by WNBA draftee and eventual All-Star Five member, Julie Allemand. But, inspired by the success of the senior team with their historic bronze medal at FIBA EuroBasket Women 2017, don't rule out a surprise run - even if they do lack backcourt offensive power.


Nowakowska has proven offensive skills and will be closely shackled

Players to Watch: The versatile Weronika Nowakowska was superb for her country at the FIBA U18 Women's European Championship Division B last year and corralled an eye-catching 15 points per game. Anna Maria Makurat is 2000-born but played at last year's edition in Matosinhos while only 16-years-old, and remains a major big prospect for Polish women's basketball.

Outlook: Last year's Quarter-Final ticket was perhaps an over achievement and there will be an absolute delight in the camp if they can make it to the top eight once more. Much will hinge on whether their defense is solid, because they don't look to have as much firepower as some rivals.


Stocklassa excelled last summer with her work in the paint in Sarajevo

Players to Watch: Center Emilia Stocklassa was an important figure for the U18 team last year with a fruitful 12.3 points and 9 boards per game. Meanwhile, there is some real excitement at the potential impact of newcomer Gunesh Ozturk who put up some big numbers in a recent preparation series against Germany.

Outlook: Having won only one of their seven outings at the last edition, it was fortunately the encounter which secured their survival. Now, another potential battle to stay in the top flight will be the expectation. Even if some of the team that won FIBA U18 Women's European Championship Division B last summer will move up, they look like being without the inspirational Klara Lundquist.