Group A: Spain Start Strong With Win Over Defending Champs

13 July 2007
by Cindy Garcia Bennett

Spain showed off their title ambitions by beating defending champions Russia 72-68 on the opening day of the U20 European Championship for Women.

Having led 62-50 with less than four minutes remaining, the Spanish were made to sweat as Olga Petrova's three saw Russia cut the deficit to 69-68 with 30 seconds remaining.

Maria Pina (Spain)
Maria Pina scored 22 for Spain.
However, Spain held firm with Maria Pina's three-ball with 15 seconds remaining sealing a four-point triumph.

"This is an important win for us," said Pina.

"It is our first game and to win against a great team like Russia is a big boost in confidence."

Russia is currently the U20 European defending champions.

Meanwhile, Spain's team is made up of many players who won the U18 title one year ago.

"I think we have sent out a warning to all our opponents that we mean business," said Pina.

Pina had a game-high 22 points on eight of 10 (80%) shooting from the floor.

Maria Bousnaki (Greece)
Maria Bousnaki and Greece cruised to an easy win over Israel.
Russia struggled in the opening half against Spain's defense and went into the break trailing 32-26.

Spain kept their noses in front and went into the last stanza leading 51-46.

Russia struck with a 9-0 run in the last three minutes to keep their hopes alive but Spain held on for the win.

Greece 73, Israel 54 

Greece stormed to a convincing 73-54 victory over Israel on Friday.

Anthi Balti had a game-high 19 points while team mate  Anna Spyndopolou contributed with 18 points.


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