U20 Women Feature
Romania cut some dejected figures as they trudged off court at the end of the first round of the U20 European Championship Women.
And no wonder, because they had just found themselves on the wrong end of an 88-61 thrashing from Lithuania, dropping them to 0-3, last place in the group.
But they must quickly find a way to get up off the mat, because now they will be playing in the relegation round, where any further mistakes will be severely punished.
"This is about their attitude," said assistant coach Monica Ivan. "They don't believe they can win. It's about that attitude, it's about wanting to win. Right now they don't have it."
But they will need to find it by Monday if they do not want to drop down to Division B.
The boxscore said it was more than a mental issue, however.
Romania have been outrebounded in every game, and in the final loss to Lithuania, they put up their worst performance yet on the boards, giving up a 54-30 advantage as they failed to deal with their size inside.
"This is a very hard competition for us," said guard Sonia Ursu, one of the better performers in the game. "It is new for us, because we are a young team, most of us were born in 1992/93 rather than 1991.
"It makes it very hard. I see my team-mates battling. They want to win the rebounds but its a very tough battle in there."
Ivan again suggested it was a question of belief.
"They need to believe that can be the equals of at least some of the teams here," she said . "I'm not talking about teams like Russia and Serbia, they are better, but we need to be a team that fights together and we are not doing that. That shows up with the rebounds."
Ursu had been the player at the heart of Romania's best passage of play against Lithuania, using quick thinking to force turnovers and score 12 or her 16 points in the final six minutes before half-time.
It was a short-lived period, but it did at least provide a template for how Romania might be able to put up a stronger challenge.
"I just wanted to show some spirit for all of us," said Ursu. "I thought to myself that we weren't showing enough courage and I wanted to help my team-mates do more on the court, but we have to work as a team."
The challenge begins anew on Monday as Romania begin the relegation round along with Belarus, Slovakia and Germany.
It will be a tough scrap with everyone desperate to avoid the drop, but Romania must keep believing.
"I have to be optimistic," Ivan added. "If I'm not optimistic the players will be even more distraught than they are at the moment. It's all about belief now."