|Paula Strautmane (pictured) and sister Digna once more led the charge for Latvia|
The Strautmane sisters were at it again, blocking Evgenia Kollatou's final two shots to confirm Latvia's place in the quarter-finals with a 56-55 win over Greece in the last Group E match of the U16 European Championship Women.
Greece entered the match knowing that only a large win would be enough for them to grab the last quarter-final berth. In a fast opening, both teams were energetic on defense and had to rely on some sharp outside-shooting to get on the scoreboard.
Amanda Betiere's three-pointer was immediately answered on the other end by Anna-Maria Manta before Paula Strautmane's baseline jumper put Latvia 13-10 ahead at the end of the first period.
In the second period the Greek defense restricted Latvia's ability to get to the basket with Maria Fasoula patrolling the paint as they went on a 13-6 run, but Paula Strautmane's mid-range jumper beat the buzzer to tie the game 23-23 at half-time.
Both coaches deployed full-court presses during the third period with varying success, generating some steals but conceding some easy scores. Greece scored nine unanswered points to move ahead but Paula Strautmane was again instrumental in bringing her team back, scoring off a tough drive and making the foul shot to cut Greece's lead to one.
The Latvian defense forced two successive 24-second violations at the start of the fourth quarter and moved clear as Zane Ozoline drained a three-pointer before grabbing a steal and connecting with Digna Strautmane for a basket inside.
The lead swelled to nine but the Greek team rallied heroically to set up a final chance, one point down with the ball in the final seconds. But Evgenia Kollatou's first effort was blocked by Paula Strautmane and sister Digna followed up to block the second shot to secure the win.
Digna Strautmane ended with game-high 17 points and added 11 rebounds, while sister Paula had 13 points and seven rebounds for Latvia, who will face the Czech Republic in the quarter-final on Friday.
Kollatou top-scored with 16 points for Greece.