|Center Nada Salacová had 10 points, 13 rebounds and, quite importantly, five blocks for the Czechs|
Italy's chanches of defending their U18 European Championship Women title have suffered an almost fatal blow after losing to the Czech Republic on the second day of the Qualifying Round, 54-47.
The result means that the 2010 champions can only hope to a triple tie in Group E between themselves, the Czechs and the Netherlands, provided that they beat the Dutch by a substantial difference and the Czechs lose to Serbia on the third and last day of action in the group.
It was the Czechs' first success in the Qualifying Round and they showed the same resilience as in any other game at this tournament.
Italy scored the last eight points of the second quarter, to lead 28-20 at halftime.
But the Czechs came back from the locker room looking like they were on a mission.
Especially point guard Tereza Vyoralova, who had 17 of her 19 points after the break to lead the powerful comeback of her team.
The Czech Republic erased the eight-point deficit in the first six minutes of the third quarter, and they took the lead, 33-32, after a jump shot made by Nada Salacova.
Two possessions later, Vyoralova sank both free throws to put the Czech in front for good with 3:48 to go in the third, 35-34.
The Italians didn't give up the fight, and after they were behind by eight points in the beginning of the decisive quarter, they closed the gap to four, 46-42, with 6:56 remaining.
But Vyoralova and Salacova stole the show in the next two minutes to put this game in the books for their team.
First Vyoralova scored from downtown to make it 49-42.
Then, Salacova came up with a killing sequence.
First she made a jump-shot from the corner, with the ball touching nothing but net.
She then ran down the court and caught Alessandra Formica for a block that gave the Czechs another important possession.
Italy missed all of their last 10 field goal attempts and scored only from the free throw line in the last five minutes of the game.
Vyoralova added none less than 14 rebounds to her brilliant game and Salacova muscled her way under the boards finishing with 10 points, 13 rebounds and five of her team's seven blocks.
Marta Masoni led Italy in scoring with 11 points and had five rebounds. Formica totaled seven points, six rebounds and two steals and had a terrible day on the offensive end with 21.4 percent shooting from the field.