By David HeinAnna Ostroukhova's 22 points paced four players in double figures in leading Russia to a dominating 81-65 victory over short-handed France to reach the final of the U20 European Championship for Women.
Tatiana Petrushina added 18 points while Anastasia Logunova had 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Anastasiya Shilova added 11 points for Russia, who will face either Latvia or Spain for their fifth U20 title since 2000.
|Anna Ostroukhova had 22 points in leading Russia to the final.|
France, who were without leading scorer Diandra Tchatchouang and backup point guard Linda Bousbaa, were led by Margaux Okou Zouzouo's 18 points. Pauline Thizy and Laurie Datchy added 11 points for the French, who will take on the Latvia-Spain loser for the bronze medal.
The French simply lacked the scoring punch to combat a tough Russian defense from the start. Russia opened a 12-5 lead and it was 21-13 after one period.
The Russian defense forced five turnovers and just one basket in a 14-4 run spanning the first two quarters in building a 15-point advantage 31-16. The cushion was as high as 17 points before leading 39-25 at the break.
France tried to get back in the game, but whenever their defense needed a stop either Petrushina or Ostroukhova would come up with a score - combining for 20 points in the period and increasing the margin to 21 points. Russia led 65-45 going into the fourth.
Ostroukhova nailed a three-pointer and converted a three-point play to push the lead to 25 points with five minutes to play. But France would not go out without at least a fight, going on a 13-2 spurt to get the game within 12 points - 77-65