By David HeinAnastasiya Shilova poured in 21 points including five of Russia's 12 three-pointers in guiding Russia to the gold medal of the U20 European Championship for Women with a thrilling 75-74 victory over Spain.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Anastasia Logunova scored 12 points, Tatiana Petrushina had 10 points and reserve center Liubov Paskalenko came off the bench for nine points and four blocks as Russia won their fifth U20 women's title following crowns in 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008.
Spain captured their second straight U20 women's silver medal with Cristina Ouvina collecting 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and four steals.
|Anastasia Logunova took home the MVP award to go with her gold medal.|
Marta Xargay had 16 points, four rebounds and five assists while Amaya Gastaminza gathered 10 points and 10 rebounds and Marta Tudanca chipped in 10 points.
Both teams started nervous, unable to keep control of the ball as one stretch of action saw four straight turnovers. Spain led midway through the first period 14-10. But Veronika Dorosheva and Anna Ostroukhova nailed back-to-back triples and Russia were ahead 18-14 after one quarter.
Shilova and Anastasia Loginova went back-to-back from long range early in the second quarter to push the advantage to eight points, 26-18.
Xargay and Ouvina worked hard to keep Spain in the game and the deficit was just 28-24. But Shilova and Yana Panevina struck from beyond the arc again and the margin was 36-28. Spain were able to trim the gap to 38-32 at the break.
Spain came out of the dressing room in strong fashion on a 10-3 run to grab the lead 42-41. Trailing 45-43, Russian coach Dmitry Donskov inserted Paskalenko into the lineup and the 2.03m center, who had only played 26 total minutes before the final, entirely changed the complexion of the game.
Paskalenko scored three baskets and created room for Russia's outside shooters with Panevina hitting one triple and Shilova two long balls in pushing the lead to 58-52. The Russian advantage was 59-56 going into the fourth quarter.
Logunova came back into the game for Paskalenko and took over with eight straight points for Russia and building the lead to 73-65 with four minutes to play.
Spain refused to die and crashed the offensive boards and that effort - including five offensive rebounds on one single possession - brought Spain to within 75-74 with 39 seconds left.
Ouvina missed a layup attempt which would have given Spain the lead with three seconds left. Logunova grabbed the rebound and after missing the first foul shot missed the second free throw on purpose with 1.8 seconds to win the championship.