Maria Arrojo made the clutch shot to finally break Latvia's determined resilience
Spain demonstrated the spirit that has driven them to three consecutive U20 European Championship Women crowns as they beat Latvia 72-66 despite trailing for 36 minutes in Udine on Saturday.
Turning Point: Spain had been eating away at the Latvian lead ever since it peaked at 15 in the first quarter and they finally broke through when Maria Arrojo finished a fast-break to give the champions a 67-66 lead with 2:39 remaining. So deflated were the Latvians that they would not score again.
Game Hero: It was perhaps fitting that Arrojo got the go-ahead basket as she was one of the key protagonists in Spain's impressive fight-back. She finished with 19 points off 73% shooting while Astou Ndour also added 20 points, 10 of them from the free-throw line.
Stats Don't Lie: Latvia's strategy was clear from the outset as they attempted 13 three-pointers in the first half, connecting on eight of them (62%) and as a result they went into the break leading 42-37. The second half was a different story however, as just one of Latvia's nine long-range attempts were successful.
The Bottom Line: Spain have now come through two tough tests during which they have not been at their best. Such performances say much more about this team's character and resilience than blowouts ever could. Latvia will take huge confidence from their first-half showing and progress to the second round as the third-placed team in Group B.