Dutch Stay In The Race For Last 8 Spot


The Netherlands grabbed a lifeline in the race for quarter-final places at the U16 European Championship for Women with a 60-37 win over Hungary on Tuesday.

It wasn't pretty. But it was effective. The Dutch shook off the tournament-ending injury to Isabella Slim and steadily pulled away with the kind of performance that coach Rene van der Wielen had sought.

"We really started preparing for this game two days ago because we knew it would be more important than the Spain game," he revealed. "We analysed Hungary's zone offense and we practiced our own zone defence against Spain to prepare for it."

Dutch centre Merlin Lammerink had a game-high 15 points and was a key factor as her team comprehensively won the rebounding battle while pressurising Hungary into low-percentage shots.

A 10-0 run sent the Netherlands on their way to a 32-18 lead at half-time. And another 7-0 burst increased their advantage to as much a 56-31 with seven minutes left. 

Van der Wielen now goes into the last group game on Wednesday against Italy knowing that a victory could send his side into the last eight if France fails to beat Hungary.

"There will be some pressure on Italy," he said. "We've now had a boost with this win. After losing to Spain and France, our confidence and belief dropped a little. But we did a good job here and we're back up."

Dorina Kalocsai had 14 for Hungary whose hopes of making the next stage are all but over.


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