Lithuania Clinch Title Over Bulgaria

22 July 2012

Lithuanias Dalia Belickaite was named MVP of the tournament
Lithuania's Dalia Belickaite was named MVP, averaging 17.3 points, 7.0 rebounds  and 3.5 assists in the tournament.

Lithuania capped their roller-coaster run in the U16 European Championship Women Division B in Tallinn with an 86-63 victory over Bulgaria in Sunday's title game.

Latvia, meanwhile, had a double celebration because they beat Portugal, 42-35, in overtime to capture bronze and claim the third promotion place in the tournament.

"It was an exciting game, full of surprises," Latvia's captain Paula Luke said. "At times, our spirit went down, because it was hard to defend against Portugal.

"But then we felt that we can do it, we pulled ourselves together and with that will power, we won the game."

In the gold-medal clashe, Laura Juskaite had 24 points and 14 rebounds for Lithuania, who overcame a 42-point explosion from Bulgaria's Borislava Hristova.

After trailing 20-16 at the end of the first quarter, Juskaite and her teammates outscored Bulgaria 26-17 for a 42-37 lead at half-time.

Lithuania put the result beyond doubt in the third quarter when they poured in 30 points and stretched their lead to 16.

The winners were far from a one-player show, with Dalia Belickaite scoring 21 points, corralling nine rebounds and handing out six assists.

Hristova was brilliant and couldn't have done anymore for her side, making 12 of 24 shots from the floor, including four of six from long range.

She was 14 of 15 at the free-throw line.

The pressure was off both sides since they had clinched promotion by reaching the Final.

Lithuania had their struggles in Estonia.

The Baltic side endured a three-game losing streak but still reached the Quarter-Finals and went on a title run.



In the battle for bronze, Ieva Spigule poured in 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Latvia, who led 24-14 at half-time but then scored just one point in the third quarter and allowed the Portuguese to pull to within one.

At the end of the fourth quarter, a Francisca Meinedo basket for Portugal sent the contest to overtime.

Once in the extra period, a Spigule jumper snapped a 35-35 tie and Latvia then got a lay-up and a jump shot from Paula Strautmane.

Strautmane finished the scoring with a free-throw 14 seconds from the end.

Poland finished sixth after an 88-64 triumph over Ukraine.

Aleksandra Mysinska had 20 points for the Poles.

Slovenia defeated Finland, 56-41, to finish seventh, and Israel came in ninth after edging Luxembourg, 62-59.

Denmark's 77-71 victory over Belarus gave the Danes 11th place.

Estonia prevailed 69-34 over Norway to finish their tournament on a high.


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