Spain Adjust Defense To Overcome Ukraine

06.08.2010

QUARTER-FINALS

Spain adjusted their defense and overcame a stubborn Ukraine team 80-68 to reach the semi-finals of the U18 European Championship Women 2010 in Slovakia.

Alina Iagupova led Ukraine in scoring with 33 points and a 60 two-point field goal shooting percentage, while Laura Gil posted a double-double for Spain with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Ukraine used a 7-2 run behind five points by Iagupova to open the first quarter and remained in command until Marta Claret drove inside and hit a difficult layup to give her team a 12-11 lead with 3:58 to go in the period. Ukraine, however, who ran a more versatile offense then in their previous games when they were relying mostly on Iagupova's skills, held their noses in front for a 20-17 advantage after the first quarter.

Poor two-point field goal shooting was hurting Spain's offense and Ukraine widened the gap to eight (35-27) after sharpshooter Kateryna Demchenko nailed two consecutive three-pointers. Coach Miguel Martinez Mendez responded with Queralt Casas off the bench and she stepped up for Spain hitting a few jumpers that canceled Ukraine's hope of pulling away after the first half (38-36).

After the break Spain responded with triples by Laura Gil and Casas to regain the lead after 23 minutes played. With Casas restricting Iagupova and Ukraine's defense unable to deal with the Spanish fastbreaks Spain went 63-52 ahead.

Spain continued on the same pace and it was only Iagupova who kept Ukraine in the game by hitting some of her trademark eight meters bombs. But she was caught for a technical foul with 0:46 remaining and Ukraine's last hopes faded there and then.


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