|Small forward Yurena Diaz left the best for last, scoring well above her tournament average to lead Spain to the bronze medal|
Spain did everything possible not to have to experience again something similar to the final moments of their semi-final loss to Belgium, and they succeeded.
They defeated Sweden in the bronze medal game at the Global Vision U18 European Championship Women, 85-69, after an excellent second half.
Spain settled for third in this Championship, the only competition in the U18 and U20 age groups, in Men and Women, that they didn't win this year.
Sweden had an excellent start and was already leading 9-2 after two and a half minutes.
But the Spanish side recovered quickly with a 12-1 run of their own, capped by a three-pointer by Elena de Alfredo.
The two teams then went head-to-head until the end of the first quarter, with Spain leading 20-19 at the first buzzer.
De Alfredo and Inmaculada Zanoguera carried the Spanish team in that period with eight and seven points respectively.
The tough battle continued in the second quarter with the two teams trading baskets and getting into fierce duels for every loose ball on the court.
There was frustration in the air on both sides which resulted in a very physical physical game.
Spain outscored Sweden 16-5 in the last 06:33 of the second quarter to lead 42-35 at halftime, with Astou Ndour totaling 13 points and seven rebounds after the first 20 minutes.
Her duel with Amanda Zahui captured the attention of the crowd in the Antonio Alexe gym of Oradea, as the Swedish center already had 13 points and three rebounds of her own at halftime.
Andrea Vilaro scored all her seven first-half points in the second quarter, to give her team the confidence needed for the second part of the game.
Spain's dominance after the break was almost absolute, and they played both on defense and offense like a team that could very well be playing for the gold medal.
The lead ballooned in the fourth quarter when Sweden could not find ways anymore to stop the re-ignited "Furia Roja".
The Spanish team led 80-60 with 2:45 remaining and the fate of the bronze medal game was already sealed.
Spain had five players in double digits, with Yurena Diaz leading the way with her 20 points.
Ndour had 15 points and nine rebounds, Marles Balart added 15 points of her own, Vilaro 12 and De Alfredo 11.
Zahui was nothing less than brilliant for Sweden, with 22 points, while Abigail Asoro finished with a double-double, 10 points and 11 rebounds.