Elin Eldebrink and Sweden matched their best-ever EuroBasket Women finish
By Paul Nilsen
Turning Point: After Italy had rallied in the wake of their disappointing first half to catapult themselves back into contention at 45-42 in the third quarter, Sweden put their foot on the pedal and raced away again with a decisive 13-0 scoring run.
Stats Don't Lie: The normally reliable perimeter game of Italy deserted them and they could only manage 27.8% from behind the three-point line.
Game Heroes: Elisabeth Egnell finished with a super double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Elin Eldebrink posted a handy 12 points and six assists.
Back at EuroBasket Women for the first time in 26 years, Sweden signed off with a convincing 77-60 success against Italy in Orchies, to take seventh place and match their best ever finish in the competition.
With both teams left distraught after the double whammy of failing to make the semi-finals and then missing out on a place at the FIBA World Championship for Women next year in Turkey, it was pride that was mainly on the line as their French adventure came to an end.
Sweden went for the jugular early, building an 18-7 lead and it wasn't long before they had doubled the tally of their opponents at 22-11.
Italy needed a lift and still down by 10 points approaching half-time, they cut the arrears in half at 43-38 with an and-one play by Giorgia Sottana.
But, Sweden had the last say of the opening 20 minutes, with a basket by Frida Aili to extend their superiority.
Whilst Italy made it a one-shot game shortly after the re-start, Sweden found the extra gear and got stronger as the game petered out to take revenge for their loss against Italy on the opening day.
And, having shared a similar roller-coaster pathway throughout the tournament, both teams showed their mutual respect afterwards, with head coaches Lars Johansson and Roberto Ricchini paying tribute to each other for taking their sides to the last eight of the competition.