Italy See Off Czechs, Stay Alive


Italy kept alive their slim hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the U20 European Championship for Women by knocking off Czech Republic 80-68.

Chiara Consolini's 19 points led four Italians in double figures as Nino Molino's team improved to 2-2 in the Qualifying Round Group E in Chieti. The hosts must now beat Latvia on Thursday and hope for a combination of results to advance.

Arianna Zampieri had 17 points for Italy, Emilia Bove chipped in 14 and Clelia Corsi collected 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Czech Republic were eliminated from the semi-finals despite 16 points each by Katerina Hindrakova and Eva Mrhalkova and 14 poitns and 14 rebounds from Lenka Sipova.

Italy opened the first gap of the game, pulling ahead 11-6 before the Czechs answered with an 11-2 surge to grab the lead 17-13. And Marian Svoboda's Czechs still led 22-21 after the first period.

Italy jumped on top to start the second on Consolini's three-pointer but the rest of the period was a true dog fight as the lead switched hands two times and there were seven ties while the biggest lead was the half-time score of 39-35 following a Zampieri three-pointer and Chiara Rossi's late foul shot.

Corsi and Valeria Battisodo scored baskets as the Italian crowd went crazy watching Molino's women open a 45-38 lead midway through the third. Another Zampieri triple and a lay-up just before the buzzer left Italy ahead 56-47 going into the fourth.

Corsi made it an 11-point game to start the fourth quarter. The Czechs fought back to within 60-54 on Sipova's basket with seven minutes left. The Italians however remained in control and alive for the semis.



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