Group A: Netherlands Advance, France Make Statement

17.07.2010

By David Hein

The Netherlands advanced to the qualifying round of the U20 European Championship for Women by beating Bulgaria 63-32 in Group A action in Grobina.

Maaike Klein led all scorers with 12 points while Clara van der Hoek added 11 points and Karina van den Nieuwendijk chipped in four points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Netherlands, who improved to 1-2 in the group.

Bulgaria shot just 21 percent for the game in dropping to 0-3 and will fight now to stave off relegation to Division B. Aleksandra Kancheva led Bulgaria with seven points.

The Dutch scored the first 12 points of the game en route to a 23-5 lead after one quarter.

The Netherlands hit the first seven points of the second period for a 25-point advantage. Bulgaria answered with a 9-0 run to trim the deficit to 30-14. The halftime score was 32-14 for Netherlands.

Bulgaria had a final push and used a 12-5 surge to get within 11 points - 37-26. But the Dutch scored the final 10 points of the third period for a 47-26 cushion.

And after Bulgaria hit the first basket of the fourth the Netherlands went on a 14-0 run for a 33-point lead late.

Meanwhile, Jessie De Colo led three players in double figures as France out-scored Poland 43-0 over a 17-minute second half stretch in winning 80-31 to top the group.

De Colo scored 12 points and Margaux Okou Zouzouo added 11 points and Medelome Medenou had 10 points for France, who took first place in Group A with a 3-0 record.

Poland, who were led by Malgorzata Misiuk's six points and 11 rebounds, dropped to 2-1 in second place.

France wasted little time in pressuring Poland, opening a 10-point lead 14-4 early on. And it was up to 17-6 before the French were up 19-9 after one quarter.

Poland stuck with France in the second period, only allowing the advantage to grow to 12 points - 32-20 - and cutting the margin to 34-25 at the break.

The gap was 37-29 early in the third quarter when French shut down Poland for good. France scored the final 19 points of the third period and the first 24 of the second in keeping Poland scoreless for just about 17 minutes.

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