Group E: Russia And Spain Pull Out Tough Wins


Russia and Spain, two teams considered medal favourites, needed big second half runs to defeat Belgium and Belarus respectively on the first day of qualifying round action at the U20 European Championship for Women.

Spain trailed 38-23 at the break but turned on the style in the fourth quarter by outscoring Belgium 29-7 en route to a 68-56 triumph.

This game should be a lesson to us that if we don't defend well from the start, we will only suffer.
Patricia Arguello
Patricia Arguello had a game-high 25 points while Maria Pina added 15.

"This game should be a lesson to us that if we don't defend well from the start, we will only suffer," said Arguello.

"This result nevertheless gives us a big morale boost as we were able to turn around a 15-point deficit and win."

Tatsiana Likhtarovich had 14 first-half points for Belarus but struggled against Spain's defense in the second half, and finished with a team-high 16.

Spain's defence limited Belarus to just two points in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter as they went on a 9-2 run cut deficit 49-48.

Pina's three-ball gave Spain the lead for good at 54-53 with five minutes remaining.

Meanwhile, Russia pulled away early in the fourth quarter to beat Belgium 73-64.

Elena Gogiya had a game-high 19 points and brought down seven rebounds for the victors.

She was seven of 11 (63%) from the floor.

Belgium trailed 34-19 at the break but battled back and Tracy Wittebolle's free throw put them in front late in the third quarter at 45-44.

Russia hit their opponents with a 20-6 run over the next seven minutes put away plucky Belgium.

"I think we were too confident at half-time," admitted Gogiya.

"We relaxed and we lost focus.

"We then listened to the coach and he told us that we needed to slow things down and that's what we did."

Russia outrebounded Belgium 48-36.

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