Poland Break Italian Hearts To Advance


9. Dorota Mistygacz (Poland)
Dorota Mistygacz was the top rebounder of the game, grabbing 11 boards to go with her nine points

With a place in either the second round or relegation round on the line, a triumphant Poland edged out Italy 54-47 in a wonderfully absorbing do-or-die encounter at the U20 European Championship Women in Debrecen.

Despite having lost both of their opening games in agonising fashion, Italy knew they could still progress with a win but for the third game in a row, they suffered the heartache of losing in crunch time.

It was the unflappable and classy Magdalena Zietara who delivered the killer blow to Italy, calmly making a three-pointer with just 16 seconds remaining to ensure her opponent will now have to face a fight to preserve their Division A status.

Italy will be kicking themselves for a slow start which meant they trailed 17-4 as Poland raced out of the blocks looking intent on winning Group B and showing why they finished on the podium at last year's edition in Novi Sad.

With something of a mountain to climb, Italy worked tirelessly to haul themselves back into the game. It was an encounter as intense as any seen during the first few days and the passion and belief of Italy overflowed as they managed to make it a one-shot game at 48-45 with three minutes left.

But Zietara struck from downtown and when Italy came back one final time to get within four inside the last minute, the same player stepped up to the late once again.

She finished with 17 points, six assists and five rebounds although it was a great team effort by Poland, Dorota Mistygacz just missing out on a double-double.




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