France toppled Spain 74-52 to win the title of the U20 European Championship Women 2009 in Gdynia, Poland.
Spain opened the game at their run-and-gun tempo and were ahead 23-10 after one period, but then France got physical and the rest of the evening was all theirs.
Marielle Amant played a big part in changing the dynamic of the game.
The French center, missing in action in a scoreless first period, showed up in a major way in the second tallying 12 points before halftime.
Spain's second unit couldn't get the job done and a steal by Amant that she took all the way in for an easy two points gave France the lead 30-28 with over a minute to play.
|Marielle Amant helped turn the tables on Spain|
France went into halftime up 32-28.
"We didn't start any of our games winning by ten in the first quarter. I think that it was really good for our confidence going into halftime up four points," said Amant.
Amant ended up with a game-high 20 points to go with 13 rebounds while her frontcourt partner Doriane Tahane banged home 18 points more.
Another ingredient in the win was the defensive work by small forward Darline Nsoki on the tournament's Most Valuable Player, Alba Torrens, who only scored five points after her eight-point first quarter burst.
"I knew she was a dangerous player at the beginning of the game, so I played her close and didn't help my team-mates on other players," said Nsoki, who also had eight points and six boards.
And the final factor in the French victory was the shooting wrist of guard Melanie Plust (15 points).
Spain were still within eight points with almost eight minutes to go when Plust stepped up and drilled a three pointer from the top of the key to break the game open 58-47.
"I only hit those shots because I want to win every time. I play relaxed and loose and am ready to take those shot," Plust said in the same cool tone as she plays with.
For Spain coach Jordi Fernandez the silver medal tasted "bittersweet" right after the tough loss.
"We had to play better to win, but I think in a few hours we will better appreciate what we have achieved," Fernandez said.
"Spain is on the podium so we did our job."