U20 WOMEN DIV. B
|Asnate Fomina and Latvia confirmed a return to Division A on Saturday evening|
There was double delight for Belgium on the penultimate day of action at the U20 European Championship Women Division B in Albena, as they celebrated promotion back to Division A and also clinched the gold medal.
They eased their way to a 64-53 success against Portugal, as Hanne Mestdagh exploded with a spectacular 21 points and 14 points to seal the deal and take top spot. Belgium were imperious defensively, allowing just seven points in the opening period and nine points in the third quarter to take full control.
The fine work of Mestdagh was underpinned by two excellent contributions from Julie Vanloo and Sien Devliegher, who combined for 35 points. It was a night to forget for Portugal who shot under 30% from the floor and the defeat ended their chances of taking the third promotion place.
Instead, it was a triumphant Latvia who celebrated the win for Belgium as it also confirmed their promotion. For even if they lose on the final game day against Bulgaria, and Portugal win against Great Britain to ensure a lock on 4-3 records, Latvia have the important head-to-head against Portugal.
However, Latvia did have to do some work themselves, cruising to a convincing 71-48 win earlier in the day against FYR of Macedonia, courtesy of another fantastic contribution from Guna Lagzdina, who poured in 20 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Andzelika Mitrasinovik also recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds for FYR of Macedonia but they were always on the back foot following a miserable 25-8 deficit after the opening ten minutes.
With their Division A status having been rubber-stamped 24 hours earlier, the Czech Republic celebrated by taking yet another win as they inflicted a 69-59 victory on the hosts, who will be ruing 21 turnovers and a drought in the final two minutes.
|Rosie Hynes and Great Britain finally tasted success on Saturday|
With the game still in the balance, Bulgaria could not manage a score in crunch time as the Czechs eased away to victory, propelled by a powerful effort from Monika Satoranska who racked up 18 points and nine rebounds. There was also a nice cameo from Aneta Mainclova who had nine points from four of five floor shooting, to go with nine rebounds. Borislava Hristova top-scored for the losing side with 19 points.
At the seventh time of asking, Great Britain finally got to experience that winning feeling after they clinched a hard-fought and exciting 69-67 success against fellow struggles Romania. In what was a remarkable contest, the Brits defence was still in the locker room as they leaked 32 points in the first quarter to fall ten behind early.
But, they produced a terrific turnaround defensively by holding their opponents to just six points in the second period and it helped set up a nervy finale.
Great Britain prevailed as they posted a strong finish with eight of the last ten points in the game to take the win, including a last ditch score by standout forward Shequila Joseph who finished with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Ana Grigore replied with 18 points in defeat, as Romania head into the final day still searching for a first success.