Relegation Round: Day Five Roundup

25.08.2012

U20 WOMEN

4. Francesca Dotto (Italy)
Francesca Dotto led the way for Italy with 23 points

A relieved Italy will be playing in Division A of the U20 European Championship Women again next summer after they claimed their fifth successive Relegation Round success to condemn last remaining rivals Latvia.

The Latvian team will join Great Britain and Portugal in the second tier next year, while Italy can finally find some solace in their impressive quality and mental toughness having lost all three First Round games at the start of the tournament.

The Italians knew a win against the British would guarantee their survival, and whilst they eventually ran out 69-58 winners, it was a nervous and at times, troubling afternoon for coach Antonio Molino and his players.

At one moment during the game, they found themselves trailing by as many as nine points against a Great Britain side who fought hard and recorded a much improved display with Erin McGarrachan and Jessica Hurd both grabbing double-doubles.

Latvia needed Great Britain to win to have any chance of surviving but in the end, the extra energy of the Italians shone through, as did the superior quality of Caterina and Francesca Dotto who shared 39 points.

Clara Salvini also weighed in with 15 points as Italy finally came good in the last quarter, outscoring the British 22-13 to spark scenes of celebration on the final buzzer.

It may not have been the kind of joy Italy had expected to be experiencing heading to Debrecen, but after being dumped into the Relegation Round, their reaction told a story and underlined just how precious retaining their Division A status actually is.

It meant Latvia headed into their game against Portugal afterwards with real disappointment having been deprived of some winner-takes-all drama on the final day.

They did however manage to prevail in another tight Relegation Round game, edging out their opponent 53-51 with Dita Rozenberga and Kristina Bridina combining for 27 points and 17 rebounds.

 

 


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