Sancho Lyttle and Spain fired theirway into the second round with a game to spare
By Paul Nilsen
Turning Point: It was a one-shot game at 19-16, but as soon as Elisa Aguilar dropped successive three-pointers, the stable door was wide open as far as Italy were concerned - even if they did play impressively hard until the final buzzer and at one stage got back to within six points.
Stats Don't Lie: Italy had very few easy scores and only had eight foul shots in forty minutes. Meanwhile the Spanish frontcourt did a good job containing Kathrin Ress, the star of Italy's opening win - limiting her to 27.3% floor shooting.
Game Hero: Sancho Lyttle was in great form and finished with a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Spain eased their way into the second round of EuroBasket Women 2013 after avoiding another late wobble to take a 71-59Group B success against a spirited and determined Italy in Vannes.
Generally dominant and especially at 51-32, there was briefly a sense of déjà vu as Italy conducted a revival to get within six points - something very reminiscent of day one when Russia threatened to overturn an 18 point deficit.
Whilst Italy were less convincing in terms of ever realistically looking like finishing their fight back, they did push Spain all the way, something acknowledged by head coach Lucas Mondelo and also Amaya Valdemoro after the final buzzer.
"Italy played really hard and made us have to play our best in order to win the game" said Mondelo.
Valdemoro added, "We are lucky that we have 12 amazing players who all put something very different on the floor.
"Especially because we needed this when Italy came back into the game and I thought we did a pretty good job to get the win."
It was when a triple by Giulia Gatti brought Italy back to 60-54 with just less than four minutes remaining that the alarm bells didn't exactly ring, but were ready to go.
However in the end, they didn't sound as Spain held firm, helped by a combined 27 points from Alba Torrens and Amaya Valdemoro.
20-year-old Francesca Dotto impressed for Italy with 12 points and four assists as well as her defensive intensity.