France, Belgium win groups with clean slates

10.08.2008

France easily handled Lithuania 75-40 to take top honours in Group A of the Termosteps U16 European Championship Women while Belgium won a thriller against Sweden 68-66 to finish Group B undefeated.

Trailing 66-63 in the last minute, Lut De Meyer scored and then forced a Swedish turnover which Julie Vanloo followed up with a three-pointer to give Belgium the victory.

Vanloo hit a team-high 19 points while Hanne Mestdagh had 14 and Inge Meylemans added 13 points for Belgium, who turned the ball over just 10 times.

Sweden dropped to 2-1 in the group but secured second place as  Farhiya Abdi poured in 21 points and grabbed 17 rebounds while Amanda Zahui tallied 27 points for Peter Johansson's team.

Sweden started the game in better form with Abdi giving them a 14-8 lead only to see Belgium score the final seven points of the quarter for a 15-14 advantage. Abdi then hit a three-pointer and Zahui converted two three-point plays in a 12-0 Swedish surge for a 26-17 lead. The cushion grew to 13 points before Etienne Louvrier's Belgians closed the deficit to 36-28 at the break.

Belgium began closing in on the Swedes in the third quarter and Vanloo's basket cut the margin to 42-39. And Jenny Mayinga's only score of the game left Belgium trailing just 50-48 after three periods. Afroditi Kalidis hit two baskets and Abdi's score gave Sweden a 59-52 lead with five minutes left in the game. But the tough Belgian defense held Sweden scoreless for nearly two minutes and Vanloo pushed Louvrier's team ahead 60-59. The game was dead-locked at 63-63 before Zahui converted a three-point play with a minute left. De Meyer scored a basket and then swiped a ball from Abdi before Vanloo drained a three-ball with 21 seconds to play. Kalidis missed a jumper just before the buzzer which would have tied the game.

Florine Basque (France)
Florine Basque (France) hit 12 points
France notched their third victory of the competition and took top honours in Group A with a 75-40 rout of Lithuania. Florine Basque led the way with 12 points while Esther Moisan Niamke added 10 and three others tallied nine points

Lithuania's Monika Grigalauskyte came into the game as the tournament's leading scorer and rebounder but was held to just five points and eight rebounds and Gabija Morkunaite scored a team-high 10 points. But the Lithuanians turned the ball over 39 times in falling to 1-2.

France built an early 9-4 lead and Basque's three-pointer completed a 9-0 surge for an 18-5 cushion and a 20-6 advantage after one period. Jenny Fouasseau and Basque knocked down long balls as the lead grew to 16 points - 28-12. The Lithuanians were able to pull within 30-21 on Gabija Morkunaite's basket. But Marion Lemonnier and Hélèna Akmouche drained triples to begin a 23-1 run spanning half-time for a 53-22 lead.

Zivile Mikalauskaite's team turned the ball over 10 times before finally scoring a basket in the second half by Santa Okockyte with four minutes left. The French were ahead 57-33 after three periods and Arnaud Guppillotte's side did not let up in the fourth quarter, scoring the first seven points of the final frame. And France would increase the lead to 31 points over the rest of the game.


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