Spain Beat France And Go For Gold


Spain broke open a close game in the third quarter and defeated France 64-54 to capture gold at the U18 European Championship Women in Södertälje.

Trailing 36-33 after 23 minutes played, the Spaniards scored 14 unanswered points to go into the final stanza with a 47-36 advantage.

Allison Vernerey's jumper cut the deficit to 49-42 with 7:22 to go but the Spaniards scored the next five points en route to glory.

Spain's Leonor Rodriguez had seven of her game-high 22 points in the third quarter.

Amaya Gastaminza contributed with 16 points and 10 rebounds for Spain.

"I am very proud of my players," said Spain coach Carlos Colinas.

"After so many games, it was difficult to keep the intensity going but they did just that."

Both teams went into the final showdown undefeated in the tournament.

France enjoyed a good start and led 20-11 after 14 minutes played. Spain scored eight unaswered points to cancel Les Bleuets' hopes of pulling away.

Rodriguez's three-point play gave Spain a 27-26 half-time lead.

France scored the first four points in the third quarter but Rodriguez's thee-ball knotted the contest at 30-30.

France struggled against Spain's defense as Colinas' side were finally able to do what they do best, run.

"France imposed their play and we struggled in the first half to play our style of game," said Colinas.

"We knew that France would complicate our lives after the break so we made some tactical changes.

"We managed to score on fast-breaks and make a good run at the right time to get an important lead going into the final quarter."

Konteh led the French with 16 points.

Spain were superior shooting the ball on the night, as they were 24 of 56 (42.8%) from the floor while their opponents were 22 of 65 (33.8%).

France struggled from long range, making just three of 16 (18.8%) while Spain finished an impressive four of eight (50%) from behind the arc.

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