By David HeinAnete Steinberga's two free throws with 3.5 seconds secured Latvia the bronze medal at the U20 European Championship for Women with a 53-49 victory over France, who failed to win a medal for the first time at a U20 women's event.
Steinberga scored 14 points, Sabine Niedola had 12 points and nine rebounds and Ieva Krastina hit all seven of her points in the final 12 minutes, helping Latvia to their third U20 women's bronze medal following 2005 and 2009.
France, who were without injured star Diandra Tchatchouang and backup point guard Linda Bousbaa, led by as many as 17 points and failed to hold a 14-point lead in the final 14 minutes to take fourth place.
|Anete Steinberga had 14 points to help Latvia clinch a bronze medal.|
Hhadydia Minte paced France with 11 points and 13 rebounds while Margaux Okou Zouzouo scored 10 points in the loss.
France scored the first nine points of the game and the French lead grew to 21-8 after one quarter, as Latvia had no answer for the French low post game.
France continued to build the advantage throughout the second quarter and it grew to 17 points at 31-14. The gap was 31-19 at the break.
The Latvians were hit with an unsportsmanlike foul and France remained ahead 37-23 with four minutes left in the third quarter. But Niedola and Steinberga scored 10 points in a 16-2 run spanning the third and fourth periods to knot the game at 39-39.
With the score tied at 42-42, the French scored one point in the next six possessions as Latvia built a 49-43 advantage. But Zouzouo nailed a three-pointer with 21 seconds to make it a three-point game. Krastina made two foul shots with 16 seconds to play only to see Laurie Datchy knock down a triple with 5.6 seconds to play, setting up Steinberga's icing the game.