|Angela Salvadores delivered another clutch performance to carry Spain to victory|
Turning Point: Game tied, 1:07 left. You put the ball in the hands of Angela Salvadores and she delivers, a beautiful move for a step-back jumper that hit nothing but net. Hungary's Debora Dubei had a chance, but Salvadores' shot goes down as the game-winner.
Game Hero: Salvadores had 22 points on 10-18 shooting, saving the best for last.
Stats Don't Lie: Spain's magnificent defense held the Hungarian team without a field goal for over 11 minutes in the second and third quarters. Spain only shot 35% themselves but holding their opponents to 31.3% was enough for victory.
Debora Dubei's shot in the dying seconds fell short and Spain escaped with a 50-49 win over Hungary in the U16 European Championship Women semi-final.
Hungary played very strongly in the first half and held an eight-point lead at one stage. The Spanish defense stepped up and held Hungary without a field goal for over 11 minutes to take control, but a late rally led to Dominika Borondy's game-tying three-pointer making the score 48-48 with 1:21 remaining.
Angela Salvadores hit a clutch jump-shot out of the timeout, and Dubei made one of two free throws to leave her team one behind. Strong defense from Hungary forced a miss on Spain's final possession, giving the Hungarian team a chance to win the game. Dubei drove baseline, but her jumper fell short and Maria Conde grabbed the rebound, dribbling out the clock to spark emotional celebrations on the Spanish bench.
It was a harsh end for Dubei, who had been magnificent in standing toe-to-toe with Spain's star Salvadores. Dubei finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists, but Salvadores came out on top with 22 points, adding three steals also.
Dubei's three-pointer opened the scoring and then fed Virag Kiss inside for an early 5-1 lead. An early second foul slowed her momentum, and Salvadores began to impose herself, picking Agnes Studer's pocket and taking it all the way to tie the score.
Kiss and Eniko Kuttor struggled to make an impression on the game as they were constantly swarmed in the post. Salvadores capped an 8-0 Spain run with a mid-range shot and Iho Lopez emphatically blocked Kuttor inside, but Hungary worked their way back into the game, and Dubei's lovely drive and jump-shot tied the game again at 13-13. Dubei and Salvadores both hit tough jumpers, before Dubei's free throws gave Hungary a 17-15 lead at the end of the first period.
Borondy hit a mid-range jumper before pushing hard off a Spanish miss, finding Kuttor to put Hungary 25-17 ahead in the second period. Studer then ripped a rebound away from Lopez, and the play eventually worked back around to her for a jump-shot which she knocked down.
It proved to be Hungary's last field goal until six minutes into the second half. Maria Cazorla grabbed a steal as Hungary looked to push from a rebound, dishing to Laia Raventos for an easy inside score, and Cazorla then profited herself from a careless turnover to cut the Hungarian lead down to two heading into half-time.
Cecilia Muhate began the second half well for Spain, stepping outside and knocking down a jumper before Conde forced a steal which led on the other end to Muhate's pass and a beautiful touch pass from Conde for an easy score for Lopez. That basket gave Spain a 29-28 lead and Hungary coach Andrea Meszarosne Kovacs called timeout.
Despite the strong defense, Spain were meeting resistance on the other end also. Lopez grabbed a tough offensive rebound and converted to increase the lead to four, but Kiss did the same at the other end to finally break Hungary's drought. Lopez hit a baseline jumper to beat the shot-clock buzzer, and great ball movement inside led Muhate to convert as Spain took a 36-34 lead into the final period.
Salvadores scored on a great drive and then a brilliant offensive rebound put-back to swell the lead to six, and Raventos found a streaking Conde off a rebound to put Spain eight clear at 43-35. Hungary desperately needed a response, and Dubei provided, recovering a broken possession and flinging in a three-pointer to beat the shot clock.
Nina Aho's baseline jumper was followed by Kuttor finding Kiss inside, and the lead was back down to one. Salvadores picked off an inbounds pass and took it all the way before Borondy's big shot set up the dramatic finale.
Salvadores' big night was supplemented by nine points, four assists and three steals from Cazorla, and Lopez added eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Spain have won seven golds and one silver in the last nine tournaments, and will be hoping to add another gold to the collection on Sunday.