Never-Say-Die Serbia Shock Spain

03 August 2012

U18 WOMEN

Turning Point: When Sanja Mandic made consecutive triples during the final quarter to not only complete the Serbian fight-back, but also give them the lead, her team-mates looked more energised as the belief and confidence flowed more vigourously than ever.

Game Heroes: When everyone was struggling offensively, Katarina Vuckovic was efficient and kept things simple. She also did the dirty work on the glass to finish with 14 points and nine rebounds. Meanwhile Aleksandra Stanacev had a miserable shooting night but her nine assists against a tough Spanish backcourt showed what a talented playmaker she is.

Stats Don't Lie: Having given up 27 points during the second quarter, Serbia picked up their defence after the break, holding Spain to just 25 points during the entire second half.

11. Katarina Vuckovic (Serbia)
When things were not going well for Serbia, Katarina Vuckovic kept them close enough to be able to make the big comeback

Serbia set up a semi-final showdown with Russia at the U18 European Championship Women after upsetting favourites Spain, 64-60, in a truly absorbing encounter in Bucharest.

Down by double-digits early in the second half to the team many had tipped to land gold, Serbia showed a huge amount of heart and resilience as they slowly but surely changed the course of the game.

Having won a tense opening quarter 12-8, Serbia looked like they might implode during the second period when they allowed Spain to pour in a worryingly easy 27 points.

Then, when Elena De Alfredo scored the first basket after the interval, Serbia fell 37-27 behind.

And, whilst not exactly looking like a done deal, few people could have anticipated Serbia would regain their defensive intensity and run out eventual winners.

Especially when with nine minutes of the contest remaining, they still trailed by eight points.

But, that is how it panned out as the Spanish continued to make poor decisions offensively and Serbia gleefully came out on top in a gripping climax.

Leticia Romero stood out for Spain with 19 points, six rebounds and three assists while the cameo of Serbian small forward Kristina Topuzovic was also absolutely pivotal.


 


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