SEMI-FINALSThe team effort paid dividends for Italy once again in Poprad as they edged France 55-50 to move into the title game of the U18 European Championship Women 2010 where they will challenge defending champions Spain.
Italy struggled on the defensive end where France scored easy points from under the basket and held a 77.7 two point field goal accuracy in the first quarter.
Mélanie Devaux hit a triplethat put France in charge with 22-14 while Italy couldn't pick up their rhythm.
France tried to push hard their opponents in the second quarter when Eléonore Grossemy hit a jumper to extend the lead to 10 points, but Italy responded with an improved defense and a 9-0 run to close the first half trailing by just three points, 27-24.
Italy returned after the break with a better focus on defense and improved offense and it paid off immediately when Luciana Morsiani's three point play gave her team the lead 35-32.
The French tried different rotations to slow down the Azzure, but Italy ran effective fastbreaks to move 44-36 up before the final quarter.
Barba found her shooting touch behind a few jumpers to initiate France's comeback and Devaux connected with a trey to tie the game at 48-48, but that was shortlived as Gaia Gorini hit a big jumper and Francesca Dotto drove inside for a basket to seal the win for Italy.
Dotto scored 14 points including the important layup at the end of the game and Luciana Morsiani contributed with seven rebounds for Italy.
Devaux led France with 10 points while Lucie Barba added 15 rebounds.