Turning Point: A class team such as Spain doesn't need a head start but Russia handed it to them by allowing their opponent to jump into an early 12-1 lead and consequently they were always chasing the game and playing catch-up.
Game Hero: Laura Gil was immense for the winning team, finishing with a double-double of 10 points and 16 rebounds.
Stats Don't Lie: Spain pounded Russia 42-29 on the glass.
|Laura Gil stepped up at the final weekend to help Spain defend their title at the U20 European Championship Women|
Spain successfully defended their U20 European Championship Women crown after a super start in Debrecen and a fine double-double from Laura Gil helped them take a convincing 59-46 victory against Russia who again had to settle for silver.
Russia started the game far too slowly and virtually came to a standstill on offence when they managed only a single point during the first eight minutes.
Finding life tough against the intense Spanish defence there was unsurprisingly palpable relief on the Russian bench and also from those players on the floor, when Galina Kiseleva managed to get one to drop from long-range.
Whilst making only two scores to fall 12-4 behind after the first quarter was disappointing, there's little doubt head coach Dmitry Donskov would have been more upset with his team giving up six offensive rebounds.
However, Russia was decidedly more composed during the second period and, with fewer turnovers, it enabled them to firstly prevent Spain from running away, and also to gain some much needed confidence.
However, they were unable to make any real impression on eating into the deficit and especially with Gil cleaning up on the glass and pulling down 10 rebounds for her team to keep them 26-19 ahead during the break.
The third quarter followed a familiar pattern, Spain managing to keep Russia at arms' length, thanks mainly to eight points in the period from last summers' MVP Queralt Casas who began to exert her considerable influence on the game.
Russia headed into the last ten minutes of action, trailing by ten points at 42-32, acutely aware that it would probably require a significant uplift in their three-point shooting performance and better work on the boards to avoid silver.
But, Spain continued playing the kind of perimeter defence they needed and also continued to do the dirty work under the hoop to ensure there was no late drama as they sealed back-to-back gold medals.