|Mousdandy Djaldi-Tabdi's exemplary rebounding was a big factor in Spain's win|
France rallied in overtime to overcome three-time reigning champions Spain 47-42 and win a thrilling U20 European Championship Women final in Udine on Sunday.
Turning Point: When Leticia Romero hit a clutch three-pointer to send the game to overtime it appeared the game had swayed the way of Spain. But two huge plays, a three-pointer and a block, on consecutive possessions from Marième Badiane allowed France to take a four-point lead into the last 21 seconds.
Game Hero: Badiane heroics on both end of the floor put France in position to hold on. But while Mousdandy Djaldi-Tabdi's four points wouldn't grab any headline but her 15 rebounds, 10 of them offensive, were vital in such a low-scoring game.
Stats Don't Lie: France's offensive rebounding was key to this victory, they pulled down 22 compared to Spain's nine, and managed to turn them into 10 second chance points.
As the previous meeting between these teams suggested, the opening period was a cagey affair, Spain edging ahead 9-6 as Spain's Yaiza Rodriguez was employed to keep the ball out of Olivia Epoupa's hands at every turn.
The stifling defence on either end continued into the second quarter with Rodriguez one of few players to find joy driving to the basket. But Spain opened the biggest lead of the game, 20-14, going into the break following an Astou Ndour finish on the fast-break.
But the athleticism of the French players began to show in the third quarter as they pulled down seven offensive rebounds, giving themselves more opportunities to score.
They took them too. When Mamignan Touré drained a corner three with 2:27 to play in the third, she gave France their first lead since the second minute, at 24-22.
France looked to be pulling away early in the fourth quarter when an Epoupa lead extended their advantage to 31-24. But Spain hit back as Marina Lizarazu followed a big three-pointer with a fast-break lay-up before Maria Arrojo tied it up at 31 with 4:38 to play.
Three tense, scoreless minutes followed before Marième Badiane broke the deadlock in emphatic fashion, with a three-pointer from the wing.
As the clocked ticked down to 13 seconds it seemed that would be the winning score but Romero stepped up to knock down a big three in the face of her defender with just 4.6 seconds remaining to send the game to the extra period.
It seemed Spain would ride that extra momentum to victory in overtime but France found another gear.
Badiane was somehow afforded space in the same spot she hit her previous triple and banked in another to give France a 39-37 edge with 1:47 to play before blocking Laura Quevedo on the next possession.
From there Lidija Turcinovic hit a deep two to stretch the lead to four before a late miscommunication between Rodriguez and Ndour allowed France to turn over possession and win it from the line.