U18 WOMEN DIVISION C
|Malta struggled in their semi-final and will hope for a better offensive output when they face Andorra in the final |
Hosts Andorra will line up against Malta to fight it out for the gold medal in the Final of the U18 European Championship Women Division C.
Both teams emerged victorious from their semi-finals contests, although it was much more comfortable for Andorra than it was for Malta.
The home team settled the nerves early with a powerful start en-route to a 47-34 win against Wales.
A 16-3 opening quarter had Andorra in the ascendency although to their absolute credit, winless Wales produced arguably their best performance of the tournament with a gutsy response.
They outscored Andorra 11-6 ahead of half-time and fought hard in the second half to catapult themselves back into contention and especially when a free throw late in the third period by Tanisha Walker cut the deficit to 32-23.
But, Andorra had too much in their locker and pulled away again to make it to the Final, boosted by a combined 22 points from Marta Aguilera and Laura Navarro, who also grabbed seven steals.
Wales did a very good job on the glass to keep themselves in with a slim chance of an upset, with Walker, Elizabeth Jones and Joanna Thomas responsible for a collective 30 rebounds.
There was a much tighter game in the other semi-final, as Malta squeezed past Gibraltar 38-33 in a hard-fought match-up which hung in the balance until the final buzzer.
Malta dried up worryingly during crunch time, with three points in the last four minutes briefly opening the door for Gibraltar, but they couldn't capitalise due to their own offensive woes.
The game was close throughout, but a 7-0 run by Malta across the third and fourth quarter break gave the winning team the cushion they needed.
Nobody made it into double digits for Malta to highlight their offensive struggles and perhaps they should have been punished for making only 7 of their 24 free throws.
Christina Curmi and Maria Bonett claimed 24 rebounds, whilst Natalie Rodriguez had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Gibraltar.