Stunned Champs Out, Italy Progress

17 June 2013

EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013

10. Elisa Aguilar (Spain), 13. Amaya Valdemoro (Spain)
Spain remain undefeated heading to the second round

By Paul Nilsen

Turning Point: Marta Xargay got her hands in the passing lanes a number of times when Spain were on the ropes in the second quarter. She then drilled two downtown scores in quick succession shortly before half-time to help Spain overturn an eight point deficit and get on level terms at 30. It also gave them important momentum coming back out of the locker room after the half.

Stats Don't Lie: Spain threw a defensive blanket over their opponents, helped by out-rebounding Sweden by 50-36.

Game Heroes: Sancho Lyttle didn't have her greatest shooting night but finished with another double-double, this time landing 17 points and 17 rebounds.

The reign of Russia as EuroBasket Women champions will soon be over after they were dumped out of the tournament in the wake of Spain routing Sweden 73-49 as the curtain fell on first round action in Vannes.

However the win for Spain triggered celebrations for Italy whose nervous wait for confirmation of a Round 2 place ended with a ticket for Lille.

Russia must now deal with the reality of not only giving up their EuroBasket Women crown, but also missing the FIBA 2014 World Championship in Turkey next year.

Having lost twice to Sweden during the qualification round last summer, Spain extracted some sweet revenge - a fact not lost on Laia Palau.

"It was something that we had deep in our souls to finally beat this team and so I am very happy," beamed the guard.

"We beat them by a lot and for us it is important because we also sent out a strong message too."

Sweden were by far the best team in the early stages but inspired by a nice cameo by Xargay, Spain took a major step up in the second half and Sweden just couldn't cope.

They got overpowered in the paint and when Spain started to finally make some triples, there was no way back.

Spain to move to the second round with two wins and leave Sweden with no victories - since their success against eliminated Russia won't count.

 

 

 


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