Lithuania Still Perfect

24.07.2008

For the second day in a row, Lithuania used a fourth quarter run to bail them out of trouble as they beat the Czech Republic 68-61 and remained unbeaten at the U18 European Championship for Women.

With the win, the Lithuanians took top honours in Group E and will face France - who suffered their first defeat of the competition against Russia 65-57 - in Saturday's first semi-final.

Ramune Kumpiene's girls made their way back from a 51-40 deficit at the start of the final quarter to win much in the same way as they did on Wednesday.

In that game against the host nation, Lithuania looked headed for defeat after trailing by double-digits. But they did just enough down the stretch to take a 55-52.

The scenario was much the same against the Czech Republic. Aurime Rinkeviciute drained a three-pointer with just over three minutes left to put her team up by one, 56-55, and Marina Solopova hit a long bomb of her own less than 30 seconds later to put her side up by five, 60-55.

Katerina Bartonova got the Czechs back within three, 62-59, with 56 seconds to go, but Lithuania held on as Rinkeviciute made her free-throws down the stretch.

The Czechs looked headed for an easy win as they used a balanced offense and tight defense to take a 35-26 lead at the break.

And they kept adding to that lead in the third quarter, going up by as many as 14, 47-33.

The Lithuanians though clawed their way back into the game slowly but surely in the final frame thanks in large part to the scoring punch provided by Giedre Paugaite and Marina Solopova.

Rinkeviciute finished with a game-high 26 points while Paugaite had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Klaudia Rosenbaumova had nine points and six boards to pace the Czech Republic.


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