Spain Defend European Title


Spain battled their way to a 74-65 victory over France in Poland to defend their Women's Under-16 European Championship title on Sunday.

Both sides had approached the game in fine spirits after hard-fought wins in the semi-finals.

Spain narrowly beat Turkey 51-49 while France beat the host country 77-68. But it was the Spanish who emerged victorious in the final, coming back strongly from losing the first quarter to secure an excellent win.

Guard Melanie Plust, who poured in 27 points in total, was in impressive form for the French throughout, inspiring her side to a 15-12 lead at the end of the first period.

But the real star of the show was center Alba Torrens, who top-scored with 20 points for the defending champions and whose creativity and shooting for Spain lifted them back to a 32-29 advantage at the halfway stage.

Laura Nicholls also chipped in with 12 rebounds as Spain extended their lead by a slender two points after the third period.

But more excellent team play helped them secure a four-point advantage in the final quarter and an ultimately comfortable win.

In the third-place play-off, hosts Poland took the bronze medal after a 60-55 win over Turkey.

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