|02 July 2009|
Tournament hosts Sweden cruised to a 74-44 victory over Bulgaria on the opening day of the U18 European Championship for Women.
The Swedish defense wreaked havoc on the Bulgarians, who committed 33 turnovers in the game.
Fahriya Abdi scored 15 of her game-high 21 points before the half-time, including a long three right at the buzzer to give her side a 40-19 lead and leave the home fans cheering.
After the restart, Sweden kept up the defensive pressure and outscored Bulgaria 25-10 over the next 14 minutes for a 65-29 advantage.
"I think the key to this win was our defense," said Sweden's Salome Kabengano. "We stepped up our defense and that helped our offense.
"It was fun to play in front of our home fans and that gave us a boost in energy."
Abdi was also a force on the boards, pulling down 10 of Sweden's 42 rebounds.
|Tina Jovanovic put up an impressive double-double with 21 points and 18 rebounds|
Bulgaria lost that battle, grabbing just 34 boards.
While the hosts were 23 of 41 (56%) inside the arc, their opponents were 12 of 33 (36.3%).
Earlier in the day, a 14-4 fourth-quarter run by Serbia propelled them to a 75-64 victory over Poland.
The Poles trailed 44-35 at half-time but reduced the arrears to 61-60 before the Serbs took control.
Tina Jovanovic had one of the top performances of the day in Sweden, pouring in 21 points (15 in the second half) and corralling 18 rebounds.