Classy Spain En Route To Title Defence

25 August 2012

Turning Point: Sometimes the smallest fundamental things turn or secure a game. With just under 90 seconds remaining, Spain was ahead by two points and had a wide open opportunity on the fast-break. Andrea Vilaro couldn't make the lay-up but there was Queralt Casas backing up her team-mate by running the length of the court to get a pivotal put back which made it a two-shot game.

Game Heroes: Inmaculada Zanoguera came up with an efficient 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals with Spain's best work usually taking place when she was on court. Similarly Laura Gil had arguably her best game of the tournament with 12 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

Stats Don't Lie: Spain didn't give up a single second chance point to Turkey.


7. Inmaculada Zanoguera (Spain)
Inmaculada Zanoguera posted one of her best games of the tournament to help Spain reach the gold medal game

Reigning champions Spain will get to defend their U20 European Championship Women crown after finally shrugging off a resilient Turkey 58-50 in Debrecen to set up a third successive Final against Russia.

In a truly riveting semi-final match-up, Turkey came back from the dead after trailing by 15 points during the interval to take the lead but Spain managed to find the composure and defensive stops to win the game in crunch time.

Locking down Turkey and holding them to a meagre eight points during the first quarter, Spain set the tone for the rest of a red-hot first half which handed their opponent something of a mountain to climb.

Whilst the level of the Spanish defence and transition game has rarely dropped below top gear throughout the tournament, this time they also showed their prowess inside, adding 22 points in the paint to 13 fast-break points as they waltzed into a commanding 34-19 half-time advantage.

Turkey coach Aziz Akkaya desperately needed his players to show some character and they certainly delivered for him with a stirring fight-back during the third quarter as they indeed climbed the mountain in impressive style.

They did a great job at both ends of the floor, outscoring Spain 16-5 to more or less make it a new game. The Spanish looked surprisingly rattled for a few minutes and headed into the final quarter with their lead eroded to 43-37.

Turkey then went on to tie and send their fans into raptures early in the final quarter as Merve Aydin buried a three-pointer from the corner to level and when Ayse Cora hit a three-pointer moments later, those same supporters were in dreamland.

The game was still delicately poised during the last couple of minutes but Spain cranked up the defensive pressure and Turkey turned the ball over on a couple of key possessions which was crucial.




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