Spain, Turkey book final Qualifying spots

10.08.2008

Spain and Turkey both notched comfortable victories at the Termosteps U16 European Championship Women to secure the final two spots in the tournament's Qualifying Round.

Mariona Ortiz scored 13 points to pace Spain in a 57-50 win over Russia to remain undefeated in Group D while Pelin Gülbag and Emel Güler combined for 33 points in Turkey's 70-49 decision against Latvia in Group A.

Jose Ignacio Hernandez's Spaniards held Russia to 28 percent shooting and forced 27 turnovers in moving to 3-0. Queralt Casas added 12 points, Marina Delgado had 11 and Amaia Segues grabbed 10 rebounds for Spain.

Russia finished second in the group at 2-1 and were led by 11 points each from Ekaterina Kubynina and Yulia Stepanova. Yana Matveeva once again did not play with a right knee problem.

Russia were unable to solve the tough Spanish defense early and fell behind 8-3 before Kubynina scored their first basket with 3:30 left in the first. But Tatiana Makarycheva's team would find their rhythm and knot the game at 15-15 after one period. Ortiz knocked knocked down two three-pointers and Elena Diaz converted a three-point play as Hernandez's girls shut down the Russians in a 16-2 surge to lead 31-17. And the gap was 31-22 at intermission.

Nina Gumennaya hit a three-pointer and a free throw to trim the deficit to 35-28 only to see Spain score seven straight points, including a three-ball by Diaz. And the Iberians led 44-33 after three periods. Diaz started the fourth with a long ball and Casas made it 49-33. Spain struggled to score for much of the rest of the game but played tough defense, not allowing Russia to hit basket until Kubynina's score made it 49-38 with 3:48 remaining. But Delgado responded with a three-pointer and Casas made it 54-42 with 2:20 to play. Russia, however, refused to give up and Gumennaya hit another three-ball and a basket to cut the margin to six points before Segues secured the final scoreline.

Turkey meanwhile just had to win to advance to the Qualfiying Round while Latvia needed a nine-point victory to go through. But Firat Okul's Turks got the job done with a 70-49 win to improve to 2-1 in Group A.

Gülbag had 17 points, six rebounds and four assists while Güler collected 16 points and seven rebounds.

Latvia dropped their third straight game and next will compete with Serbia, Ukraine and Germany against relegation to Division B. Ieva Eida did all she could for Latvia with 18 points. But no other player scored in double figures for Maija Kublina's team.

Pelin Gülbag (Turkey)
Pelin Gülbag (Turkey) scored 17 points
Turkey scored the first six points of the game and Güler and Gülbag helped open a 14-7 advantage. But Eida knocked down two three-balls in closing the deficit to 16-15 after one period. Eida hit another six points including a third triple as Latvia opened the second quarter on a 12-5 run and build a 27-21 lead. But Rana Derin scored back-to-back baskets and another later in giving Turkey the lead 34-31 at the break.

Kristiana Pumpure's three-pointer allowed Latvia to pull ahead 38-36. But Gülbag answered right back with a trey of her own and Olcay Cakir converted a three-point play as Turkey rebuilt the lead to 48-42 after three quarters. Two early scores by Gülbag gave Turkey their first double-digit cushion at 52-42. Laura Ozolina would trim the margin back to eight but Turkey went on a 13-0 run on their way to a 24-point lead late.


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