Daria Kolosovskaia delivered an MVP-worthy performance in the gold medal game
Jubilant Russia rode their way to the top of the U18 European Championship Women podium in Matosinhos after a super late show carried them to a 57-53 success against France.
Turning Point: Trailing 48-40 early in the fourth quarter, Russia looked to be destined for the silver medal, but found another gear defensively and that facilitated a magnificent last eight minutes. Twelve straight points allowed them to tear the initiative away from France and set up a memorable victory.
Game Heroes: Daria Kolosovskaia had another highly productive outing with 19 points, while Kseniia Levchenko added 13 points and seven assists.
Stats Don't Lie: Russia only handed France two fast break points and it was holding their opponents to 4-of-16 shooting in the last quarter which paved the way for glory.
Despite making the last game of the competition, France entered the game as one of the lowest scorers in the tournament but had little difficulty establishing some early momentum as they hit a nice offensive groove right from the tip-off.
With Russia missing far too many easy looks inside the paint, Les Bleuettes took full advantage and five straight points from Ornella Bankole coming off the bench helped them double the Russian tally at 22-11 late in the opening period.
However, Russia finally came alive and proceeded to dominate across the first and second quarter break as they worked on eating into the deficit, with Kseniia Levchenko growing in influence along with Daria Kolosovskaia.
They helped their nation to outscore France 16-5 as Levchenko converted from long-range to get her team within a point.
Louise Dambach kick-started France again either side of half-time with a triple of her own taking France 36-29 into the lead early in the third quarter.
During the early stages of the last period it looked like France were firmly on course to take gold at 48-40 until Russia responded in style by coming alive at just the right time.
A 15-2 burst culminated in a triple by Anastasia Kuplinova with three minutes to go and there was to be no answer from France as Russia held firm in crunch time thanks to a nice baseline jumper from Zhosselina Maiga, confirming their first time on top of the podium in ten years.