|Cristina Ouvina starred for Spain with 19 points on 8/10 shooting from the field|
By Paul Nilsen
Turning Point: There wasn't one. Scintillating Spain jumped all over their opponents right from the tip-off. As soon as they opened up with the first ten points of the game, any prospect of a shock Serbian victory became more remote than ever.
Stats Don't Lie: Spain shot 64.3% inside during the first half and it left Serbia reeling.
Game Heroes: Sancho Lyttle claimed her customary double-double and foraged 22 points and 11 rebounds. Cristina Ouvina produced the best performance of her career in a senior team vest with 19 points from eight of ten floor shooting to go with four assists. Marta Xargay was a defensive maestro again and also claimed 13 points.
Red-hot and rampant Spain are just one final step away from topping the EuroBasket Women 2013 podium after they preserved their unbeaten status with a ruthless and impressive 88-69 semi-final demolition of Serbia.
Dominant from the outset, Spain brutally dismantled Serbia in a first-half performance which oozed confidence, focus and belief that their destiny involves getting a precious gold medal placed around their necks.
Cristina Ouvina hasn't had many minutes so far for the winning side, but she was beaming afterwards and rather than focusing on her own highlights, spoke of the team accomplishments which won the game for her side.
"We dominated in some aspects of the game such as rebounds and stopping their fastbreaks," identified the guard.
"And, this made the game much easier for us."
Defence was the other factor at the heart of their performance since Spain took the Serbian offence and basically put it in a cage, only allowing the door to open slightly as the game petered out.
Marta Xargay led the way, locking down the dangerous Ana Dabovic, whilst Sancho Lyttle was her usual phenomenal presence inside.
Offensively, Spain simply swamped Serbia with wave after wave of attacks, all stemming from their watertight defence.
Trailing 8-0 and with nothing on the scoreboard, Serbian head coach Marina Maljkovic called a time-out in a bid to try and stop the early rot, but was powerless to stop her team being completely buried.
Jelena Milovanovic eventually grabbed a put-back score to finally open a scoring account for Serbia, but Spain pressed the accelerator right to the floor.
Even at 27-10, the game was in reality, over prematurely.
Especially with Spain looking first class in every department and with absolutely no intention of giving up a big lead again - something which had happened on a couple of previous occasions.
Trailing 48-28 heading to the locker rooms, it was damage limitation for Serbia when they re-emerged for the second half.
Whilst Milica Dabovic fouling out didn't help, Serbia made a flurry of three-point shots in the final quarter to at least regain some confidence ahead of their bronze medal game on Sunday.
Dajana Butulija sunk four triples and finished with 15 points.
Serbia Player Jovana Rad:
"Congratulations to Spain for reaching the final. We did not fight in the first half, but for us it is very important that we played a good second half in order to be ready for Sunday and fight for the third place."
Spain Player Cristina Ouvina:
"We dominated the game on rebounds and we stopped their fastbreak, as we have planned to do, and that made the game easier for us."
Serbia Head Coach Marina Maljkovic:
"Congratulations to Spain, they were a better team today. We had a bad first half, but we were better in the second half. Anyway, I believe in my team and we will be ready for Sunday."
Spain Head Coach Lucas Mondelo:
"Congratulations to Serbia for the great tournament they are playing and good luck for the bronze medal game. Today we had two goals: first of all, to control our turnovers to avoid them running fastbreaks and to control the rebounds. Second, we wanted to play long possesions. Both goals are accomplished and I am very happy because we are in the final; it is unexpected. We have to enjoy this game and tomorrow we will be focused on the final."