U20 WOMEN DIV. B
|Borislava Hristova was in great nick for Bulgaria in their win over Great Britain on Saturday|
Great Britain let a 10-point fourth-quarter lead slip as Bulgaria's offence got hot, propelling the home team to a 75-70 win in the U20 European Championship Women Division B in Sofia.
The crowd had been quietened by a strong first half from the British team, which held an eight-point lead at the interval. Bulgaria pushed in the third quarter and briefly took the lead, but Great Britain seemingly weathered the storm and went 61-51 ahead on Shequila Joseph's three-pointer with 8:24 remaining.
Bulgaria inched their way back into the game, forcing turnovers and nailing vital shots to allow Kalina Aksentieva to tie the match from the free-throw line with less than three minutes left.
Borislava Hristova had been huge for her team throughout, adding four rebounds, four assists and four steals to a game-high 23 points, and she saved her most crucial score until the end. Her three-pointer broke the tie with 69 seconds remaining, and Iva Georgieva sealed the win with vital baskets down the stretch.
Iva Kostova added 15 points for Bulgaria, and Aksentieva finished with 14. Cheridene Green's fantastic 17-point, 17-rebound effort went to waste in Britain's defeat.
Germany joined the hosts with three wins out of three after dismantling Norway in a 72-23 victory. Germany scored the first 20 points of the contest, not allowing their opponents a bucket until the final second of the opening period.
Germany never relented, forcing multiple turnovers and dominating the glass, with Norway held to just 20% shooting for the match. Levke Brodersen led all scorers with 16 points, and Ama Degbeon added nine points and 11 rebounds.
Earlier in the day, Fruzsina Fejes sank all three free throws with six seconds remaining to tie the game in Hungary's match against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Marica Gajic couldn't convert Bosnia's last-second attempt in regulation, and the Hungarian team capitalised to claim the 70-67 victory.
The loss was particularly harsh on Bosnia and Herzegovina after they had recovered from a 36-19 half-time deficit. The Hungarian lead was still 10 points heading into the fourth period, but Nikolina Babic's lay-up capped a 12-0 run to put Bosnia and Herzegovina in charge.
The teams traded baskets down the stretch, with another Babic lay-up giving Bosnia a 61-58 lead with 12 seconds remaining, before Fejes was fouled while shooting to tie the game. The overtime period continued in rollercoater fashion, Bosnia and Herzegovina falling behind before rallying with six consecutive points from Gajic.
|Dóra Nagy showed evidence of ice running through her veins with her calm demeanour in overtime taking Hungary home|
But they couldn't muster any further offence, and Dora Nagy hit five of six free throws in the final minute to seal the win as Gajic's last shot fell short.
Nagy led Hungary with 19 points, and Amadea Szamosi added six steals to a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Gajic finished with 22 points and 19 rebounds in a valiant effort for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In the day's first match, Portugal were emphatic in beating Israel 64-39 to record their second victory of the tournament. After holding Israel scoreless in the first quarter to take a 19-0 lead, coach Eugenio Rodrigues was able to use his entire roster as his team coasted home.
All but two players scored for the Portugese team, led by Maria Kostourkova's 16 points and seven rebounds. Yarden Danan's 14 points led Israel, who join Norway and Romania with 0-3 records after the first three matches.
Romania faced a tall order in taking on a Lithuanian team that has looked impressive so far, and an 11-0 first-quarter run capped by Laura Zelnyte's lay-up created separation between the two teams.
To the Romanian team's credit, they fought well, but they were never able to reduce the deficit to fewer than 10 points. When Lithuania scored the first 10 points of the second half, the match was over as a contest.
The Lithuanian defence impressed, with the entire roster contributing in holding Romania to 22.4% shooting for the match. Roberta Mizgeryte had 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Greta Tamasauskaite added 11 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals. Alexandra Dumitrache and Dora Ardelean led Romania with 10 points apieice.
The win means that Lithuania join Germany and Bulgaria with perfect records after three matches. Those teams have staked a claim to the three promotion places, but something has to give when Lithuania take on the home team on Monday, after a rest day for all the teams on Sunday.