FINALEmotions were running high all evening but it was Italy who cried with tears of joy after their 66-61 win against Spain in the final of U18 European Championship Women tournament, Slovakia crowned them champions for 2010.
Both teams started out by attacking the basket and both teams used full court pressing. Italy held a narrow 17-15 lead at the end of the first quarter behind six points from Gaia Gorini.
|FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin presents the winners trophy to Italy captain Beatrice Carta|
Spain recovered offensively in the second quarter though, with Andrea Vilaró and Marina Delgado finding their range and nailed a trey each to help Spain pull away 27-21 with six minutes remaining in the first half.
That was the wake up call for Giovanni Lucchesi's girls and they responded with an aggressive offense to tie the score 31-31 after Carta hit a difficult layup before the break.
Both squads fought for every inch in the third quarter until Carta connected from downtown and Nene Diene added a jumper from the high post to take Italy up 42-37 lead with 3:42 to go. From that point on Spain simply couldn't get anything going there way offensively, while Carta scored seven points in the quarter to push Italy's advantage to 50-43 before the final frame.
Spain set the tone early in the fourth quarter with a tightened defense and began to work the ball around trying to find solutions but Italy continued to be successful offensively and prevented Spain from gaining anymore ground.
Italy extended their lead to double digits 63-53 after Spain players were called for two offensive fouls, but the Spaniards had already cut the lead down to seven points with one minute left to go.
But then Gorini went to the foul line and made a free throw to seal the golden victory.
Beatrice Carta led Italy to the victory with 17 points and 83.3 two point field goal shooting percentage.
Marina Delgado scored 14 and added 5 rebounds for Spain.