Latvia Make Big Step Towards Quarter-Finals


Latvia have one foot in the quarter-finals of the U18 European Championship for Women after beating Poland 70-63.

The Baltic nation had to win their game, and hope that tournament hosts Sweden also prevail against Belgium in the other Group E contest later on Wednesday.

An inspired Sabine Niedola led Latvia to victory with a game-high 27 points on 10 of 14 shots from the floor.

She also hauled in 11 rebounds, handed out four assists and came up with five of her team's 11 steals.

"This was a tough game," said Niedola. "But we simply had to win to give ourselves a chance.

"I am very proud of my team because we fought hard for this victory.

"It wasn't easy to bounce back from yesterday's narrow defeat to Serbia (64-61) but we did it.

"Now we hope to get a favor from Sweden to progress to the quarter finals."

Poland trailed just 19-15 going into the second quarter. However, Daiga Jansone's side stepped up the intensity and went into the break with a 33-23 advantage, with Niedola scoring 12 points in that frame.

The Poles trailed 52-43 going into the final quarter and cut the deficit 60-57 with 3:31 remaining.

However, Latvia outscored them 10-6 the rest of the way.

Latvia were superior shooting the ball inside the arc. They finished 25-46 (56.8%) while the Poles were 22 of 54 (40.7%).

Linda Pagrode made Latvia's only attempt from behind the arc (one of 12) while the Poles finished one of six from long range.

Poland were out-rebounded 39-33.

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