Latvia Edge Turkey, Ukraine Ease Past Bulgaria

11 July 2008

Sabine Niedola collected 18 points and 16 rebounds and Karlene Nimane hit a driving lay-up with less than a second remaining to give Latvia a thrilling 77-75 victory over Turkey on the opening day of the U20 European Championship for Women.

The 17-year-old Niedola came off the bench and carried the Latvians to the win with eight points and seven offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter alone.

Sabine Niedola (Latvia)
Sabine Niedola's outstanding performance carried the Latvians home

One of the brightest stars from last summer's U16 European Championship for Women, Niedola gathered 10 offensive rebounds in the Group B encounter.

Nimane tallied 15 points and Anete Steinberga also collected a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds for the winners.

Turkey fought back from an 11-point first quarter deficit to pull ahead by as many as 10 points. But in the end, it was not enough despite 28 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots by Turkey star Bahar Caglar.

Yasemin Dalgalar added 16 points and Gizem Yavuz scored 14 in a losing effort.

Latvia pulled ahead early 21-10 and still led 25-15 after one period. But Caglar scored nine points in a 17-2 run to go up 32-27 and Turkey led 38-34 at the break. The lead bulged to 10 points at 48-38 and it was 56-46 before Nimane drained a triple to close the third period.

Turkey were still ahead 72-67 with less than two minutes left. Niedola's three-point play was answered by one from Calgar. After a Steinberga lay-up, Nimane evened the game at 75-75 on a three-pointer with 29 seconds to play.

Nimane then stole a pass by Calgar and drove the length of the court and made a lay-up with 0.33 seconds to play for the victory.

Ukraine ease past Bulgaria

Ukraine also opened up their championship with a victory, beating Bulgaria 88-61 in Group C thanks to 25 points from Taisiia Bovykina.

The Ukrainians jumped ahead 21-13 after one period and led by 17 after scoring the first nine points of the second period. Bulgaria used two 10-0 runs to pull within 36-33 just before the break.

But Bovykina sparked a 13-3 run early in the third period to open a 53-40 cushion. And it was still 13 points 64-51 going into the fourth. A 13-0 surge in the opening stages of the final period ended all doubts as the lead grew to 77-53.

Oleksandra Prystupa also had an outstanding game for the winners with 16 points and 10 rebounds while 17-year-old Olesya Malashenko chipped in 18 points and seven rebounds.

Bulgaria were paced by Jaklin Zlatanova with 16 points while Veselka Todorova had 14 points and Marta Tzankova scored 11.

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