|Italy guard Erica Reggiani had 14 points, including two vital three-pointers, and dished out six assists |
A jubilant Italy is celebrating a quarter-final place at the U18 European Championship Women after completing an astonishing turnaround against the Netherlands to clinch a stunning 64-56 victory on Wednesday.
Having endured a truly horrendous second quarter, when the Dutch outscored them 19-4 to take a 35-21 half-time lead, Italy looked done and dusted - their only glimmer of hope that the reamaining Group F results could somehow turn favourable for them.
But, whatever head coach Stella Campobasso said in the locker room during the break, worked absolute wonders with her players returning visibly transformed.
They gave the Netherlands a taste of their own medicine at both ends of the court, finally finding some verve in their offence and forcing their opponents into a tidal wave of errors.
Slowly but surely, they made their way back towards parity and when they posted a 19-4 run either side of the third and fourth quarter break, turned the game on its head.
Successive three-pointers by Illaria Millazzo and Erica Reggiani tied the game up at 48-48 shortly before Elena Ramo handed the Italians a lead they would hang on to.
Meanwhile the way the Netherlands crumbled and committed a mind-boggling 31 turnovers will no doubt be of concern to their coach, Remy De Wit.
Both teams have now qualified but will have to wait on the remaining Group F games to see where they will finish in the standings.