Spain claim seventh title in eight years
SOPRON (FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship) – Spain have continued their dominance at the FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship, taking the top spot on the podium for the seventh time in the past eight years.
The gold medal game was one-way traffic, as Spain’s defense locked down Serbia, restricting their opponents to just 24.6% shooting from the field, helping them to surge to the 69-50 victory. Tournament MVP Iris Mbulito finished the Final with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
She was joined on the All-Star Five by two Serbians in Ivana Raca and Ivana Katanic, who had provided the backbone for Serbia’s run to the Final. Joining them on the team was Germany’s Satou Sabally, who led the tournament in points (20.7), rebounds (10.0) and efficiency (24.6). Rounding out the team was Netherlands’ Laura Westerik.
It was a perfect return to the Hungarian city of Sopron for Spanish head coach Miguel Mendez. Back in April, he led UMMC Ekaterinburg to the EuroLeague Women title on the very same court.
Unlike the Final, the Third-Place Game produced a far more intense finish, as Netherlands came from behind at the half to take down Italy 65-60. It marked their second podium finish, following on from another bronze showing in 2015.
At the other end of the standings, there was relief on the final day for Russia, who defeated Slovenia 86-71 to preserve their Division A status for 2019. Slovenia meanwhile, will move into Division B, along with Slovakia and Croatia, who learned of their fate, already on Saturday.
They will be replaced in Division A by Czech Republic, Belarus and Lithuania. Playing in Oradea, Romania at the same time, Czech Republic defeated Belarus 68-47 in Sunday’s gold medal game. Lithuania secured the last remaining ticket, via a 53-48 victory over hosts Romania in the bronze medal game.
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