U20 WOMEN DIV. B
|Lynn Delvaux and Belgium remain on track to move up to Division A next season, notching a third win in as many starts|
Belgium proved their strength in the clutch as they recorded their third victory and took first place in the standings after day three at the U20 European Championship Women Division B.
The only undefeated team in the competition next to Portugal, who sat out on Saturday, the Belgians improved their record to 3-0 with a 70-65 win over Latvia.
Latvia, looking for their first win, caught their rhythm early on, and with their bench players contributing to a balanced offence, they established a 37-31 lead at half-time.
The Belgium side came out of the lockers highly motivated, showing a different face in the second half and with the game going down to the wire, Philip Mestdagh's players kept hitting key shots.
With 3:36 minutes left to play, Belgium took a 61-60 lead on a jumper by Evi Hayse and never looked back.
Hanne Mestdagh shot 6-of-9 from the three-point arc on her way to a shared game-high 22 points, also corralling eight rebounds.
Tournament top scorer Julie Vanloo added another 22 points for Belgium, while Sabine Dukate had a team-high 14 points in defeat.
The F.Y.R. of Macedonia rebounded from their Friday defeat by easing past Romania, 72-54.
While the first quarter was a close affair, 19-17, the F.Y.R. of Macedonia constantly extended their lead throughout the remaining three periods, celebrating team basketball with 21 assists.
Aleksandra Stojanovska paved the way with 19 points and 13 rebounds; Andzelika Mitrasinovik added 17 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the winners, but also had 10 turnovers to her name.
Sonia Ursu came up with a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds for Romania.
Hosts Bulgaria recorded their second victory in a row to move within third place in the standings.
Coming off a morale-boosting win over Great Britain, Bulgaria picked up where they left off on Friday to defeat Israel 69-57.
|Iva Kostova and Bulgaria rode a wave of home support to victory|
Israel got off to the better start, holding a narrow 18-14 advantage after the first 10 minutes, but with the game progressing, the home team took firm control of the encounter.
With none of their three-point attempts dropping, the Bulgarians found other ways to score, making 32 points inside the paint and converting 27 of their 39 free-throw attempts.
Bulgaria were carried by Borislava Hristova (19 points and 11 rebounds) and Gabriela Kostova (15 points, six rebounds and four blocks), while Sapir Tirosh top-scored for Israel with 24 points.
In the final game of the day, the Czech Republic followed in the footsteps of F.Y.R. of Macedonia and Bulgaria by also improving their record to 2-1, and spicing up the top part of the table.
The Czech team delivered one of the most dominant performances of the tournament, as they romped to a 96-50 win against Great Britain.
Putting the shackles on the British players on defence and nailing their own shots on offence, the Czech side controlled the game from tip to buzzer.
Five Czechs scored in double figures, with Monika Satoranska producing her third double-double in as many games, 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Claire Paxton was the only British player with a double-digit score, finishing with 13 points.
Great Britain will have another shot at tasting their first victory when they step out against Latvia on Monday.