Irene Cigliani's late three-pointer and Debora Carangelo's free throw with 1.2 seconds left secured Italy a 54-50 victory over Russia to remain perfect at the Termosteps U16 European Championship Women.
Cigliani poured in 16 points as Italy took a giant step to reaching the semi-finals by improving to 4-0 in the Qualifying Round Group F.
Marta Masoni added 10 points, eight rebounds and four steals for Giovanni Lucchesi's team, which held Russia to just 29 percent shooting for the game.
Russia dropped to 1-3 in the group in wasting an excellent all-around performance from Svetlana Efimova, who had 20 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Yulia Stepanova grabbed 11 rebounds but was held to just two points for Tatiana Makarycheva's team.
Italy started ice cold on offense hitting just one of their first 13 shots - a Cigliani three-pointer - over the first seven minutes in falling behind 9-3. Cigliani would knock down two more long balls as Italy trailed 12-10 after one period. Two baskets by Alexandra Stolyar would increase Russia's lead to 18-13 with six minutes left in the half. But Lucchesi's side forced the Russians into six turnovers and Masoni's hit two baskets to spearhead an 11-2 run over for a 24-20 lead. And the Italians were ahead 26-22 at the break.
|Russia dropped to 1-3 in the group|
Italy remained ahead until Efimova and Ekaterina Kubynina knocked down consecutive three-pointers for a 32-31 lead. Virginia Galbiati's three-ball sparked a 7-1 Italy run for a 38-33 advantage with four minutes left in the third. But Makarycheva's Russians played their own tough defense and held Italy scoreless for the next eight minutes, going on a 9-0 run spaning the third and fourth quarters for a 42-38 lead. Efimova and Kubynina both hit triples to keep Russia ahead 50-47 with two minutes left. Alessandra Formica knotted the game with 1:30 to play and Cigliani hit her triple for a 53-50 lead with 17 seconds remaining. Anastasia Minaeva turned over the ball with nine seconds left but Russia wasted time before sending Carangelo to the line.