Turning Point: Francesca Russo's three-pointer with 1:57 minutes to play in the third quarter. Italy took back their 10-point lead and were able to manage it despite Belgium's comeback.
Game Hero: Cecilia Zandalasini had another shining performance to put Italy in an U16 European Championship Final, four years after their last appereance in the title game.
Stats Don't Lie: Belgium lead in the game only during 51 seconds, in the first quarter. Italy were destined to win this game.
|Cecilia Zandalasini proved unstoppable for Belgium, leading Italy to the first U16 European Championship Women Final in four years.|
In the remake of the 2011 Semi-Final, Italy took revenge, defeating Belgium 58-50 and eliminating them from the title race in the U16 European Championship Women.
Italy head coach Roberto Riccardi gave some more height to his team by calling Marzia Tagliamento to the starting five and that paid off, as Belgium felt problems to impose their game under the basket.
If there is one player to point out in this Italian team, Cecilia Zandalasini must take all the credits.
More than once, she ran coast to coast to finish in style, overrunning one or two opponents.
The Belgians tried to find their outside shooting, but it wasn't working during the first ten minutes and fast break points were the only answer they could find.
Italy's pace and hard work were confusing the Belgian team, that didn't feel at ease with the pressure and power implemented by their opponents.
Martina Kacerik took the point guard spot in the second quarter, with Zandalasini and Tagliamento turning into Italy's main scoring options.
With Julie Allemand being closed by a tight defence plan, Belgium tried to find Kyara Linskens, the only player able to create space under the basket.
Italy reached a 10-lead during this quarter and finally went to half time with a 32-24 lead.
Belgium was able to stop Zandalasini from scoring for a big period in the third quarter.
And even if Italy were playing great defence too, the Belgians were able to get closer, as Eva Devliegher made a buzzer beater with 5:29 to play in the third quarter.
But in the last three minutes of this period, Zandalasini broke the Belgian defence and Italy started an 8-0 run that gave them a 15-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
In the last 10 minutes, Belgium made a fantastic comeback in the game and were just six points behind Italy, with head coach Arvid Diels getting a tremendous effort from his players.
But with Kacerik as playmaker and Zandalasini putting her game into the service of her team, Italy were able to book their ticket for the Final.
Zandalasini scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to finish the game as Italy's most productive scorer, while Marzia Tagliamento was ablte to get 16 points and eight rebounds.
In the Belgian team, Allemand's 17 points and Linskens' double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds were the most remarkable performances.