Spain Rally To Silence Hosts Turkey

13.07.2013

U20 WOMEN

15. Astou Ndour (Spain)
Astou Ndour was outstanding for Spain, collecting 24 points and 19 rebounds

Turning Point: In a tense game where every possession seemed of utmost importance, it was a baseline jumper from Inmaculada Zanoguera with three-and-a-half minutes to go that took the wind out of Turkey's sails. It made it a five-point game, and Spain's defence did the rest.

Game Hero: Astou Ndour has been terrific the entire tournament, but she played her best game in the semi-finals amassing 24 points and 19 rebounds

Stats Don't Lie: Spain took full control of the boards in the second half. After the break they held a 27-15 rebounding advantage, including a 9-2 margin on the offensive glass.

Two-time defending champions Spain have moved on to another title game at the U20 European Championship Women, after topping host nation Turkey 57-51 in a hard-fought encounter on Saturday night.

Unbeaten Spain will play against Italy in Sunday's gold medal game, as they gun for their third consecutive title. Meanwhile, Turkey will face Belarus in the battle for bronze.

Both teams opened the game with great intensity, but Spain had a little better start and led 16-12 after the first quarter.

However, it was the hosts who were the first to pull away.

Carried by the chants of the faithful fans, point guards Olcay Cakir and Merve Aydin led the charge, and forward Elif Emirtekin sunk a triple, pushing Turkey ahead 28-20 midway through the second quarter.

Spain recovered, again through Ndour, who sunk a triple to end the half, cutting the deficit to 30-26, and they regained the lead immediately after the break with baskets inside from Ndour and Yurena Diaz.

As the tense battle continued, and pressure mounted, no shots were wasted. However, Spain's defence allowed only one field goal in the last eight minutes of the third quarter, but Turkey matched that defensive aggressiveness at the other end, and the teams were all tied at 38 going into the final 10 minutes.

Elena De Alfredo opened the final quarter with a triple, and Spain's defence kept them in front. Turkey ended their field goal drought with driving layups from Ayse Cora and Cakir, but poor free-throw shooting prevented the hosts from reclaiming the lead.

A baseline jumper from Inmaculada Zanoguera gave Spain a 49-44 advantage, forcing Turkey to call a timeout. However, Spain got two more takeaways and forced the hosts into taking tough shots.

Ndour's free throws then put Spain up 51-44 with a little over minute-and-a-half to go, and they held on without further drama.

Diaz, Paula Estebas and Sara Rodriguez contributed in victory with seven points apiece. Cakir scored 16 for Turkey, and Aydin added 11 in defeat.

 


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