|Angela Salvadores completed her argument for inclusion in the All-Tournament team by leading Spain to bronze|
Spain nailed down a fifth podium finish in six editions of the U18 European Championship Women after the deposed champions beat gutsy Serbia 74-69 to take the bronze medal in Matosinhos.
Turning Point: Serbia played in wonderful fashion to get themselves back into the game which even saw them take the lead late in the final quarter. But, they suffered from two really unfortunate turnovers during the closing stages. The first when they stepped onto the Spanish baseline and the second from a mis-communication when they threw the ball out of bounds direct from an inbound pass.
Game Heroes: Angela Salvadores made a strong and final bid for inclusion in the All-Tournament Team by recording 18 points and it was a total matched by Laura Quevedo. The defeat was also hard to stomach for Aleksandra Crvendakic who had 24 points and nine rebounds for the losing team.
Stats Don't Lie: The five extra turnovers for Serbia which took their tally to 23 in the game proved costly.
With both teams trying to bury the disappointment of their respective losses in the semi-finals of the competition, Serbia started brightly and made the first move but Spain were soon into their rhythm.
Having nudged ahead after the opening quarter, they then increased their advantage to 41-33 heading to the locker rooms at the interval.
It looked like an even longer way back for Serbia when Quevedo dropped successive downtown scores to put Spain up 47-35 after the break, but the Serbian players rallied.
They managed to score eleven points without reply, as a sweet jump-shot from Tijana Cukic resulted in Spanish head coach Evaristo Perez calling a time-out in a bid to arrest his team's slump.
However, Serbia kept pace and the result still hung firmly in the balance at 52 entering the final period.
Spain then opened up the fourth quarter in a blaze of glory as Salvadores, Ana Calvo and Teresa Cazorla all made perimeter plays in quick succession but yet again Serbia showed their heart.
They launched another rescue mission and this one even culminated in the classy Crvendakic putting them 67-65 ahead to set-up a nerve-shredding climax.
Serbia struggled to shut down Salvadores and it was her beautiful left-handed dribble and drive to the hoop which pushed Spain towards victory as they sealed the win from the free-throw line to return to the podium - albeit not with the same coloured medal that they had dreamed of.