Without her leadership and performances under the basket, there's little doubt Russia would have struggled to get near the podium since even with the benefit of her tournament double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds per game, it was still a challenging up and down ride.
In addition to being the best rebounder in the tournament, Tikhonenko also came up with 1.8 blocks per game, the second best of the competition.
The head coaches and media present in Debrecen not only voted on the MVP, but also the All Tournament Team, which included the following players in addition to Tikhonenko.
Olcay Cakir (Turkey): The point guard led her team to third place on the podium and a historic first ever medal in women's youth basketball for Turkey. It wasn't so much about the numbers for Cakir but her influence, intensity and energy - especially on defence. She came up with 10.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, finishing with a flourish by posting her joint highest score of the competition in the third place game.
Mariona Ortiz (Spain): The gold medal winning point guard was excellent throughout the tournament, perhaps rather ironically, having her least effective offensive game in the Final itself. But, she was a huge favourite of the coaches and media which isn't surprising after pulling the strings in the Spanish backcourt to great effect. She finished the tournament with 8.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game and was also a rock on defence.
Alina Iagupova (Ukraine): The driving force behind Ukraine reaching the Quarter-Finals, Iagupova showed her incredible all-round skills to great effect. She finished as the top scorer in the tournament with 27.6 points per game, she led the way in assists with 5.3 per game, drew more fouls than anybody else and also finished with a tournament high tally of five double-doubles. That haul also included a magical and rare triple-double which she recorded against Serbia in the Second Round.
Queralt Casas (Spain): Having been crowned MVP in Novi Sad last year, Casas finds herself with yet another gold medal and also another spot in the All Tournament Team. Whilst she struggled from downtown throughout the competition, her class in every other area really shone brightly and during the Final, she really stepped up in the third quarter to end any chance Russia had of a comeback. She finished with 13.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 3.1 steals per game.
Portugal was presented with the Fair Play Award for their extraordinary sportsmanship throughout the competition.