|Mariella Santucci led the charge for Italy with a game-high 17 points|
Italy overcame Lithuania's defense to pull clear and remain unbeaten with a 57-35 Group C win in the U16 European Championship Women.
Italy's suffocating full-court defense earned them an early advantage, with Benedetta Bonomi profiting in the form of two nice jump shots.
Lithuania turned around the momentum as both teams put in some great effort. Jasmine Keys forced up a turnaround jump shot which beat the buzzer, and on the other end Laura Juskaite forced a steal and dived to tip the ball to Rasa Knyzaite for an open lay-up.
Italy ended the first quarter ahead 20-12 but Lithuania clamped down in the second period as Italy added only four further points. Laurita Jurciute picked off an errant pass and took it all the way to cut the lead to four at half-time.
Italy tightened the screws defensively in the second half and restricted their opponents to just 15 points as they pulled away. Rachele Porcu ended the third quarter with five quick points to put her team 44-26 ahead, an unassailable lead.
Lithuania battled to come back but will now fight in the classification games, after winning Division B in 2012, to avoid an immediate return. Knyzaite ended with 12 points, eight rebounds and five steals, while Juskaite had a double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds).
Mariella Santucci top-scored for Italy with 17 points, Keys added three blocked shots and 14-year-old Lorela Cubaj had 11 rebounds.