By David Hein
Belgium used a 17-0 spurt spanning the third and fourth quarters and survived a late barrage of three-pointers to collect a 74-71 victory over Romania and finish Group B action of the 2007 EuroBasket Women a perfect 3-0.
Ann Wauters led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Anke De Mondt had 13 points and four assists, Kathy Wambe added 10 points and four assists and Laurence Van Malderen chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
"We knew we were qualified so mentally it was not the same. We didn't go into the game like the first two games," admitted Wambe.
|Monica Brosovszky had 10 points, including two three-pointers for Romania.|
"The hard part really starts now. We're really happy to have reached the second round. It was tough against Romania," added Belgium coach Laurent Buffard.
Romania committed 19 turnovers and shot just 52% (11-of-21) from the foul line in dropping their third consecutive contest in the EuroBasket Women.
Ancuta Stoenescu paced five Romanians with 14 points while Paula Ciocan and Maria Pascalau each had 13 points and Gabriela Toma and Monica Brosovszky added 10 points.
"This was a bit unlucky. But luck comes with experience. And we still need that. In the first two games we didn't really have the experience. But we did a lot better today," said Romanian coach Marc Silvert.
"There was not a lot of pressure. But again we had stretches of turnovers and you can't do. The main thing is a lack of experience."
Wauters had 10 points, two offensive rebounds and an assist in leading Belgium to a 20-13 advantage after six minutes. Romania answered with a 10-0 run to close the first period ahead 23-20.
Laurence Van Malderen's third straight basket for Belgium gave Laurent Buffard's side a 29-28 lead early in the second.
But Paula Ciocan scored seven points in a 14-3 Romania spurt for a 10-point lead - 42-32 with a minute left in the half.
Belgium would get to within 42-36 at the break.
Marc Silvert's team continued to fight and still held a 10-point advantage 58-48 after Monica Brosovszky's three-pointer with 3:15 in the third.
Belgium responded as Anke De Mondt's three-pointer sparked an 11-0 run to finish the period up 59-58.
And the Belgians hit the first six points of the fourth to complete a 17-0 charge over six minutes for a 65-58 cushion.
The lead was 69-62 but Ancuta Stoenescu, Carmen-Mirela Bagiu and Brosovszky drained three-pointers to pull within 72-71 with 35 seconds left.
Wauters scored an inside basket with 10 seconds to play and Stoenescu missed a three-pointer at the buzzer which would have sent the game to over-time.