The Netherlands Hang On To See Off Italy

16 August 2012

Zera Butter (Netherlands)
Netherlands guard Zera Butter was the top scorer of the opening day with 24 points

A 24 point haul from Zera Butter helped the Netherlands get past Italy 72-67 in an intense Group B match-up at the U20 European Championship Women in Debrecen.

There was little to choose between the teams throughout, with Italy looking to break away early at 21-13, only for a 12-2 burst by the Netherlands meaning they had the edge by the end of a high tempo and free-flowing first quarter.

In an entertaining second period which continued to ebb and flow, it was Italy who got their noses back in front by the interval.

With both teams shooting the ball well and finding a nice offensive rhythm during the first half, the inevitable defensive adjustments in the locker room meant defences began to tighten up when the players returned to the court.

A three-point shot by Butter handed Netherlands a 61-55 lead early in the fourth period and it was a cushion they would need as Italy pushed hard to try and ensure the pendulum swung back to them by the time the final buzzer sounded.

But, the Netherlands managed to get themselves over the line by keeping their cool and making their foul shots in crunch time.

Marlou de Kleijn produced a nice cameo for her team with 16 points and five rebounds.





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