|Mariella Santucci and her team-mates kept their cool in crunch time to stay undefeated in Group C|
Italy sealed their place in the second round of the U16 European Championship Women with a hard-fought 60-56 win over the Netherlands in Group C.
Italy's defense caused their opponents problems throughout, with two early shot-clock violations before Laura Westerik's three-pointer at the buzzer avoided a third occurrence.
The Dutch team improved in the second quarter, with Janis Ndiba imposing herself on the boards as her team took a 27-26 half-time lead.
Italy came out after the interval on fire, starting with a 10-0 run highlighted by numerous turnovers from their swarming full-court press, and capped by Francesca Pan's three-pointer which moved them nine points ahead.
The Dutch fought until the end, going on a 7-0 run to begin the fourth quarter until another great shot from Pan stopped the momentum.
Mariella Santucci proved to be an energiser for her team and her beautiful assist to Lorela Cubaj kept Italy out of reach.
Laura Steggink scored a three-pointer in the last minute to halve the deficit but Santucci sealed the win at the free-throw line.
Pan (15 points, 5 steals, 3 blocks) and Santucci (16 points, 4 steals) led their team in scoring and proved a constant thorn in the Dutch side.
Ndiba finished with 16 points and 19 rebounds for the Netherlands.