|Maria Conde and Spain remain undefeated, successfully continuing their title defence|
Turning Point: Maria Conde has been making big shots all tournament, and her jumper with 3:01 remaining broke a 43-43 tie and gave Spain a lead which they would not give up.
Game Hero: Iho Lopez was sensational on the offensive glass, grabbing 10 of her 16 boards there with none bigger than the buzzer-beating put back at the end of the third quarter.
Stats Don't Lie: In a hard-fought interior battle, France edged the team rebounds but Spain had a 30-18 advantage on points in the paint as well as nine blocks.
Spain withstood a fantastic effort from France to take a 48-43 victory in the first U16 European Championship Women quarter-final.
Maria Cazorla opened the scoring with a three-pointer, but both teams were intense on defense in the early stages. It took France six minutes to open their account through Lisa Berkani's jump-shot and she quickly added a lay-up, tying the game at 5-5.
French captain Ornella Bankole was being made to work very hard, with Maria Conde in particular covering her well, and Ines Mata managed to get a hand in on the interior to spark a fast break which Cazorla converted, putting her team 15-8 ahead.
Camille Lenglet was helping to keep France close, but Mata's sweet extra pass inside to Iho Lopez led to an easy score, and Angela Salvadores hit a hanging off-balance jumper to give Spain a 24-16 half-time lead.
Another Salvadores shot pushed the lead to 10 but France fought back superbly in the third quarter, Lenglet hitting a three-pointer and a floater in the lane before Bankole's offensive rebound led to a three-point play which prompted Spain coach Evaristo Perez to call a time-out.
Aida Santana broke the run with a long two-pointer, and Lopez grabbed two offensive rebounds in the dying seconds of the period, rising up quickly to convert the second which gave Spain a 33-29 lead heading into the final period.
Salvadores began the fourth quarter with a brilliant hanging shot in traffic to beat the shot-clock buzzer but France came back to take the lead behind Aida Sow's post move, Berkani's three-pointer and Bankole's drive.
A loose ball scramble wound up with Berkani finding Alexandrine Obouh Fegue open under the basket to give France a 43-41 advantage, but it proved to be their final basket as the Spanish defense held firm in the last four minutes. Lopez grabbed another superb offensive rebound before Conde's big shot, which she followed by blocking Sow's effort at the other end.
Laia Raventos made the crucial play in the final minute, flying across to intercept a pass and throwing the ball off her opponent as she fell out of bounds, giving Spain the ball with 19.4 seconds remaining. Salvadores made a free throw and Cazorla got her hands on the last French attempt to inbound, sealing the victory.
Bankole had a game-high 13 points plus 16 rebounds, but the Spanish defense harassed her into nine turnovers. France did well to hold Salvadores to just 10 points but she added four steals, and Lopez added 9 points and two blocks to her 16 rebounds while Cazorla ended with nine points and three steals.
Spain will play Hungary or Croatia in Saturday's semi-final.