By David Hein
Marina Solopova and Egle Siksniute each collected double-doubles in helping Lithuania open their U20 European Championship for Women campaign with a comfortable 74-56 victory over Belarus.
Solopova poured in 29 points but also had 11 rebounds, six assists and four steals to lead the Lithuanians in Group D action in Grobina, Latvia.
Siksniute had a strong game herself with 15 points, 16 rebounds and four steals while Giedre Paugaite, who played last season for Euroleague Women side TEO Vilnius well as the Lithuanian senior side, chipped in 11 points, five rebounds, three steals and four blocked shots.
Solopova scored 11 points in the first quarter, in which Lithuania used a 13-2 run to lead 21-10 after one quarter. Belarus would trim the deficit to 33-27 at the break.
The Lithuanian advantage grew to 18 points - 55-37 - with less than two minutes to play in the third period. But Maryia Filonchyk, who had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Maryna Ivashcaanka, who added 15 and nine, would not let Belarus go down without a fight, answering with a 10-0 run to close within eight points.
And it was still only a nine-point margin 61-52 with six minutes left, but Lithuania showed their class in putting the game away.
Turkey pulls away from Romania
Tugce Canitez had a double-double to lead four players in double figures in Turkey's 69-53 victory over Romania in the other Group D game
Canitez picked up 11 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots while Gonca Karatas and Ozge Yavas both scored 12 points and Burcu Gigil had 10.
Romania's Maria Manta led all scorers with 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Romania started with the lead 4-2 before Turkey went on a 10-0 run and the lead was 12 points before Turkey led 23-12 after one quarter.
Romania went on a 12-2 surge to open the second period and pulled within 25-24 and eventually knotted the game at 30-30 before Damla Gezgin nailed a three-pointer for a 33-30 Turkey advantage at the break.
The Turkey lead was down to 35-34 before they pulled away in the third, using a 15-5 run to close the quarter ahead 50-39.
The gap was down to nine points - 55-46 - with seven minutes left but Turkey's defense would not let Romania any closer.