Excellent performances by Jelena Milovanovic and Sonja Petrovic led Serbia to a stunning 72-48 mauling of Spain in the gold medal game at the UMCOR U18 European Championship Women in Novi Sad.
Milovanovic had a game-high 26 points as unbeaten Serbia avenged last year's defeat to the Spanish in the final.
She was helped by last season's MVP Petrovic, who poured in 21 points while also bringing down 13 rebounds.
|Tamara Abalde led Spain with 17 points and was named as one of the tournament's best five players.|
"This is the best day of my sporting career, without a doubt," said Milovanovic, who was voted MVP of the tournament.
"I am very happy with the way my team played and I'm delighted to take over from Sonja (Petrovic) as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
"However, without the support of my team-mates I would have never won this award."
Serbia shut down Spain’s offense in the final quarter, outscoring them 21-7 en route to the gold medal in a packed arena.
Serbia, spurred on by the partisan crowd, took an 11-6 lead six minutes into the contest.
But Spain battled back with Alba Torrens' three-pointer giving them a 26-25 lead midway through the second period.
It didn't take long for the hosts to regain control as they went into the break with a 35-31 advantage.
Serbia forced Spain to commit two turnovers and added five points at the start of the second half to stretch the lead to 40-31.
Spain stepped up their defense and replied with four consecutive points by Laura Herrera to reduce the deficit 40-35 but that is as close as they got the rest of the way.
Guided by Milovanovic's hot hand, Serbia scored nine straight points late in the third quarter to extend their lead 51-37.
Torrens' three-ball gave Spain a glimmer of hope as they trailed 51-41 with 10 minutes remaining.
But Serbia turned on the style, and shut Spain down over the final 10 minutes to record the convincing victory.
Torrens led Spain in scoring with 17 points, 13 of which came in the opening half.
Spain were outrebounded 37 to 24.
Serbia were superior shooting the ball as well, making 21 of 45 (46.6%) from the floor while their opponents were 19 of 60 (31.6%).
Jelena Milovanovic (Serbia), Alba Torrens (Spain), Natalia Vieru (Russia), Olesya Maleshenko (Ukraine), Weronika Idzak (Poland).
Fair Play Award
Gintare Petronyte (Lithuania)