Spain March To Third Straight Title


Spain retained the Under-16 European Championship for Women by just two points in an entralling contest with the Czech Republic.

Marta Tudanca led the way for the Spaniards as they claimed their third consecutive title following wins in 2004 and 2005.

Tudanca exploded for a tournament high 29 points in the final, including the game winning lay-up with 13 seconds to go.

Marta Tudanca (Spain)
Marta Tudanca hit 13/14 free throws against Czech Republic
Tudanca's heroics prevented a late Czech comeback.

Trailing 62-50 at the start of the final period, the Czechs began to attack the basket and the strategy paid off as they shot 15 free throws in the fourth quarter.

Spain still led 73-63 with just over three minutes to play, but a 10-2 run from the Czechs (with 6 of those points coming from the free throw line) brought them to within 2 points, 75-73.

Tudanca then answered with a lay-up and one of two free throws to put Spain back up, 78-73.

The Czechs, however, were not quite done and this time it was Veronika Petrzelova's turn to play the hero. She buried two free throws and then came up with an offensive rebound and putback to make the score 78-77.

On the next possession, Petrzelova stripped Spanish guard Gabriela Rodriguez and was fouled, earning another trip to the line and the chance to give her team its first lead since the opening quarter.

She missed the first and made the second to tie the game at 78-78, and Spanish coach Carlos Colinas called timeout, setting up the game-winning play for Tudanca.

Cristina Ouvina provided solid backing for Tudanca, chipping in with 19 points of her own, while Rodriguez was also instrumental with 16 points.

Marta Xargay and Marina Amer each claimed six rebounds to take their share of the plaudits.

Petrzelova led the scorers for the Czech Republic with 17 points, also claiming seven rebounds in a good all-round display.

A key part of Spain's victory was their defensive job on tourament MVP Katerina Bartonova. The 174cm point guard had a miserable final and was held to just 4 points on 1/13 shooting and fouled out midway through the final quarter.

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