by Paul Nilsen
Hosts Estonia crashed out of the race for promotion to Division A on the final day of the group games after a disastrous 94-58 mauling by Israel. The hosts were keeping pace after the first quarter but then crumbled completely either side of the half time break. Keren Mozes fired a game high 22 points to end the hopes of the home team.
Romania finished top of the pile in Group B with a 49-45 win over Switzerland. Instead of usual suspect Sonia Ursu as the outstanding player, that honour went to Alexandra Dumitrache who finished with 21 points thanks to some great shot selection and impressive outside shooting.
Netherlands finished top of Group D after despatching England 62-40 with a strong first half doing the damage as they built up a 15 point lead at the break. Maxime Essenstam racked up 15 points but it was defence again that won the game, forcing the England players into 41 turnovers as their own hopes of promotion ended for another year.
Portugal will join Netherlands after they completed a 65-52 win over Ukraine, a strong 25-15 third quarter proving to be the difference, as was 12 points and 12 rebounds from Oleksandra Chek. Team-mate Kateryna Demchenko top scored with 17 points while Joana Jesus had four triples in her 18 point haul for Portugal.
In Group A, Croatia continue to look impregnable after destroying Austria 83-43 with Ivana Blazevic claiming 27 points to finish with a 4-0 record. A 21-6 second quarter doing the bulk of the damage.
Finally Ireland avoided going winless in their group with a 72-65 win against Montenegro although they almost blew it after their opponent narrowed in the final ten minutes thanks to a 25-16 fourth quarter. Clodagh Scannell secured a double-double 12 points and 10 rebounds.