|18 July 2008|
Aurime Rinkeviciute and Marina Solopova led a balanced offense as Lithuania cruised past Turkey 79-56 at the U18 European Championship for Women.
Rinkeviciute and Solopova scored 23 points each and Giedre Paugaite chipped in with a solid double-double of 12 points and 15 rebounds.
And the physical dominance which Lithuania displayed for most of the game was the vital component to the final result.
"We play a very physical style and that's what we see as our key to success," said head coach ramune Kumpiene afterwards.
"When we stopped playing that way at times in the second half, Turkey came back and were a threat to us. We have to make sure that we force teams to play the way we want them to play and not the other way around."
Turkey got off to a decent start, trailing just by five, 19-14 after the first quarter, but their play then unravelled as they were outscored 24-11 in the second period.
Their shooting woes were certainly part of the problem - they connected on just seven of 30 field goal attempts - but they were also being outplayed around the basket, getting outrebounded 31-17 in the first two quarters alone.
The Turks trailed 43-25 at the half and that deficit was stretched to 20, 61-41, by the end of the third period.
But they persisted and showed some improvement on offense to cut the gap to 13, 65-52, on Tugce Canitez's jumper with 6:29 left to play.
However, that proved to be a wake-up call for Lithuania who returned to their winning formula of the first half and proceeded to score 14 of the last 18 points to avoid the possibility of an unlikely upset.
Gamze Takmaz led the way for Turkey with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Canitez abd Ozge Yavas both had 11.