Italy Deny Slovenia In Thriller

17 August 2013
9. Cecilia Zandalasini (Italy)
Cecilia Zandalasini was far from perfect for Italy, but made her shots when it mattered

Italy had to dodge a last second bullet to record an absorbing 59-58 win against Slovenia at the U18 European Championship Women in Vinkovci to nail down second place in Group D.

With Italy holding their slender lead after Elisa Penna had calmly scored a pair of free-throws, they had to collectively hold their breath as Klara Zupancic launched a three-point attempt from the wing.

However much to considerable Italian relief, it rimmed out and they celebrated coming out on top of a memorable and gripping encounter.

It also meant they had successfully reversed a double-figure deficit in the second half, having trailed 47-37 at one stage as Slovenia revelled in having the momentum behind them.

But Italy managed to dig out a 14-4 run either side of the third and fourth quarter break to level matters, helped by consecutive triples from Allegra Botteghi.

It set up a fascinating conclusion and it looked like Slovenia might have the last say when a jump-shot put 

But, they would not score again as Italy made three of four free-throws down the stretch which proved enough, if only just, to seal the deal.

Despite having a far-from-stellar shooting night, going three-for-12 from the floor, Cecilia Zandalasini was responsible for two of the points from the charity stripe down the stretch, taking her evening's tally to a team-high 11 points, along with seven boards.

Ziva Macura had 15 points and eight rebounds for Slovenia, who were left ruing missing 7 of their 14 free-throws.


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