Spain 76 Ukraine 71

23.09.2003

Spa-Ukr17.jpg
Maria Fernandez (Spain)
Deadly long-range  shooting  by the Ukraine made life difficult for Spain on Tuesday but defence eventually carried Vincente Rodriguez's team to their fourth successive triumph at the European Championships.

Spain prevailed 76-71, but they had to survive against a three-point onslaught and only took control for good in the third quarter after trailing 38-37 at half-time.

After the break, the Spaniards turned up the defensive pressure and forced nine turnovers, which in turn helped them outscore the eastern Europeans 13-3.

They held a 50-41 advantage six minutes into the third quarter.

The Ukraine's fortunes didn't improve in the fourth quarter. They started missing from long range - the Ukraine went two of seven in the period - and both Amaya Valdemoro and Begoña García provided points as Spain maintained a 68-59 advantage with five minutes to play.

The Ukraine shaved some points off the advantage but were unable to avoid a fourth straight defeat.

Spain started the game strong and led 25-15 two minutes into the second quarter.

But the Ukraine went on a 18-4 run, which included three straight three-pointers, and led at half-time before crumbling under the increased intensity on defence by Spain.

In that second quarter the Ukraine were red-hot, making nine of 16 shots from the field - including five of 10 from three-point range.

They would end up making nine of 18 from long range on the night.

Valdemoro, who has been Spain's biggest star at these championships, had 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Garcia had 12 points and five rebounds.

Spain can go unbeaten in this tournament with a victory over Russia on Wednesday.

If Russia fail to beat Hungary on Tuesday, then Spain will have Group B won.


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