No Chance For Ukraine As Spain Cruise To Victory

10 July 2009

Spain pulverized Ukraine in the first quarter on Friday night in Södertälje and rolled into the last four of the U18 European Championship Women.

Unbeaten and looking like a team capable of winning the title, the Spanish ended up claiming a 94-63 triumph.

It took Ukraine nine minutes before their star performer in this tournament, Olesia Malashenko, made a free throw for their first point.

"I really don't know what happened to us," said Malashenko. "We were just stunned.

"We thought we would lose by 100-0 but then we got our act together and started to score."

9. Queralt Casas (Spain)
Queralt Casas contributed 13 points on 6/10 shooting from the field

Spain came up with 12 steals and forced Ukraine to commit 13 of their 32 turnovers as they led 31-7 by the end of the opening quarter.

Ukraine showed signs of life in the second stanza.

Ol'ha Maznichenko poured in 10 of her team-high 17 points as the Ukrainians reduced the deficit to 49-31 at half-time.

But Spain outscored their opponents 24-9 once play continued and cruised to victory.

Spain's Amaya Gastaminza had a game-high 20 points and came up with four steals.

"A Quarter-Final game is usually a drama," said Spain coach Carlos Colinas.

"This wasn't.

"But we knew that it was important to get off to a good start.

"Fortunately, we took an emphatic advantage early on and we were able to control the game."

Spain only managed to out-rebound Ukraine 42-38.

Colinas' side dominated, but they did struggle from long range and also had a nightmare at the free-throw line.

They were just four of 15 (26.7 %) from behind the arc and made only 24 of 43 (55.8%) from the charity stripe.

Ukraine finished 19 of 21 (90.5%) from the free-throw line.

"I think the team gained confidence after taking such an early advantage," said Colinas.

"That hindered us because the players lost that intensity."

Spain will meet the winner of Sweden versus Lithuania in Saturday's Semi-Final.

"I would like to play against the defending champions Lithuania," said Colinas. "We have played three times against Sweden in the last 10 days and we have beaten them.

"But they are playing at home.

"In any case, the important thing is that my team is ready."

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