|Carolina Esparcia's corner three late in third was the defining moment for Spain|
Spain's defence of their U20 European Championship Women crown got off to solid, if unspectacular, start with a 48-42 defeat of France in Udine on Thursday.
Turning Point: Spain did not trail after the opening exchanges of the first quarter, following which they opened up an 11-3 lead. But if there was a turning point in this game it was Carolina Esparcia's corner three late in the third quarter. It ended a run of eight consecutive missed shots for the Spanish and restored their lead to seven, meaning they entered the final stanza in control.
Game Hero: Even in a low-scoring affair such as this Astou Ndour was able to demonstrate her skills on both sides of the ball, scoring, facilitating and disrupting shots under her own basket. Special mention must go to all members of the Spanish backcourt who hustled from the first to the last of what truly was a ground out team effort.
Stats Don't Lie: Neither team filled the stat sheet in this one and with the scores low, the margins for error were even slimmer. In the end, this highlighted France's 20 turnovers, four more than Spain. Spain's experience was evident as in the tight situations they were able to limit their mistakes and get over the line.
The Bottom Line: Like champions tend to do, Spain found a way to win. It was by no means pretty but when their own shots weren't falling the reigning champs prevented France from building momentum. Spain then managed to come up with the big buckets when required and secure victory.