Defending Champs Stifle Sweden
With their offense stalling in the first quarter, Serbia made great use of their suffocating defense to beat Sweden 60-44 in the U18 European Championship for Women.
The defending champions trailed 15-8 after the first quarter but clamped down at the defensive end and seemed to derive great energy from that strategy as they soon discovered their touch. They used a 17-0 run to take a 27-20 half-time lead.
The Swedes looked sharp in the first quarter but that all came to a halt in the second quarter when they were outscored 19-5, hitting only two field goals, almost seven minutes apart.
Stefanie Yderstrom hit a three-pointer to put Sweden up by 10, 18-8 with 8:18 left in the half, but her team didn't score again until Cleopatra Forsman's lay up with 1:33 left, by which stage the momentum of the game had swung in Serbia's favour.
Forsman was Sweden's only player with any rhythm offensively while their opponents relied on a balanced scoring. As a result, the latter stretched their lead to 17, 47-30, by the end of the third period.
Sara Krnjic, Sanja Orozovic and Nevena Jovanovic had 11 points each and Tina Jovanovic chipped in with 10 points, nine rebounds and three assists to pave the way for Serbia.
Forsman and Yderstrom had 14 points each for Sweden.