Global Vision FIBA Europe U18
Spain and France power into semi-final

After a rest day of playing basketball, the 2011 FIBA Europe Global Vision U18 Championship continues with the quarter-finals as the main event.

All 16 teams are in action with classification games for 9th - 12th place and the second phase of the relegation round (13th - 16th place).

In the classification games for 9th place Italy beat Slovenia (62-57) and the Czech Republic beat Romania in overtime (75-71).

In the relegation group Russia beat the Slovak Republic (79-57) while Lithuania beat Ukraine (68-63).

Spain maintained their perfect record with a comfortable victory against the Netherlands in the first quarter-final (88-50).

France were also in good form and pushed aside Poland (81-54) to gain their place in the semi-final.

Abigail Asoro is the hero of the day for Sweden. She went a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line as Sweden pipped Serbia (66-65).

Belgium required some magic at the wire from Emma Meesseman to get past Turkey (60-58).

You may read the stories of interest by selecting the link below as they become active.

France 81-54 Poland
Spain 88- 50 Netherlands
Sweden 66-65 Serbia
Belgium 60-58 Turkey

France qualify by playing basketball the French way

 Christelle Diallo © FIBA Europe / Viktor Rébay    France had beaten Poland last month by over 40 points in a preparation game. But the French coach Arnaud Guppillotte was aware of the danger and had to work hard in keeping his players focused for this game.

Things started well for France with a three-ball by Esther Moisan Niamke with the first shot of the game. Christelle Diallo (in picture) who was to have her best game of the tournament till now made it (5-0).

Poland managed to draw level at (5-5). But France were soon on their way for good with a 9-0 run started by Lola De Angelis and concluded by Diallo (14-5) with less than six minutes played.

Poland are fighters and the remaining four minutes were an offensive festival from both sides. The French players came out on top (29-16).

 Jodie Cornelie © FIBA Europe / Viktor Rébay    France settled down during the second quarter and played much better defensively.

Jodie Cornelie (right) took over the offensive duties from Diallo. By half time France led by 20 points (49-29).

Guppillotte continued to turn his bench so that his players would remain focused. By the end of the third quarter the spectacle was over (69-42).

All 12 players from France scored and only Sara Chevaugeon (she is not 100% due to a knock picked up during the qualifying round) played less than 10 minutes.

The intensity dropped during the final quarter. By then France was home and dry.

Dominika Owczarzak was the leading scorer for Poland with 14 points while Monika Skrzecz and Magdalena Wojdalska had 11 and 10 points each.

French players: Romane Bernies 9, Claire Stievenard 2, Esther Moisan Niamke 8 (3 assists), Olivia Epoupa 2 (3 assists), Mamignan Touré 2, Alice Nayo 8, Sara Chevaugeon 2, Margaux Galliou-Loko 11, Jodie Cornelie 14, Lola De Angelis 6, Christelle Diallo 14 (9 rebounds and 3 assists), Marie Mbuyamba 3

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Spain turn on the turbo when they want

 Spanish U18 players celebrate another victory at the  U18 European Championship © FIBA Europe / Viktor Rébay

Spain are the number one ranked nation in FIBA youth basketball and this team appears to have the ability to step up in tempo when required.

 Remy De Wit © FIBA Europe / Viktor Rébay    Within 90 seconds Spain had 7 points from 100 % shooting from the floor.

The Netherlands then had what was to be their best spell in the game as they outscored Spain 7-2 to make it a 2-point game with four minutes played (7-9).

Spain's response was brutal as Andrea Vilaró fired in a trey to start a 9-0 run that blew away the Netherlands for good (18-7).

Remy De Wit (left), the Netherlands coach, was already pacing the side-lines shouting instructions.

Leading (22-11) by the end of the first quarter, Vilaró made sure that Loyce Betonvil from the Netherlands remained scoreless for most of the first half.

Spain defended in groups and attacked individually as they went into the locker room leading (44-23).

 Astou Ndour © FIBA Europe / Viktor Rébay    The Netherlands are one of the most organised teams in this competition. Yet they had no answer to the Spanish youth basketball version of poetry in motion.

Spain led (70-38) going into the final quarter. Miguel Martinez, the Spanish coach, decided to stop the press while turning his bench which allowed the Dutch to reach the 50-point mark.

Astou Ndour (right) only needed to play for 12 minutes. She went 6-of-7 from the field to score 13 points and shared the honours with Sara Rodriguez who also had 13 points.

Marlés Balart with 10 points and 7 rebounds and Vilaró with 10 points and 5 assists were the driving force behind the victory while Elena de Alfredo scored 12 points.

Loyce Bettonvil - despite her poor start - still finished with 12 points for the Netherlands while Maxime Essenstam scored 12 points.

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Perfect free throwing by Abigail Asoro gets Sweden through

 Swedish U18 players celebrate another victory at the  U18 European Championship © FIBA Europe / Viktor Rébay

Over the last few years Swedish youth teams have provided some of the most emotional moments for FIBA Europe.

Trailing by 12 points after the first quarter to Serbia they got themselves back into the match with an epic third-quarter performance to trail by a single point (47-48).

The final quarter was end to end basketball with the usual intensity and the usual good, bad and ugly plays.

 Abigail Asoro  © FIBA Europe / Viktor Rébay    However as so often the final minute was decided on the free-throw line.

Serbia were leading (64-60) going into the last minute. Abigail Asoro (left) was sent to the free-throw line with 45 seconds to play and said thank you by making the two shots.

Sweden then went on the press and Ellen Nyström stole the ball off Aleksandra Stanacev. She scored to tie the game (64-64) with 30 seconds to play.

Natasa Kovacevic from Serbia was then blocked by Amanda Zahui. The ball somehow got to Stanacev who then lost it to Asoro.

Kristina Topuzovic tried to save the situation but was called for a foul on Asoro. With two more free-throws for Asoro and Sweden were in the lead (66-64).

 Swedish players cannot look at their opponent taking the free-throw © FIBA Europe / Viktor Rébay    Serbia still had more than enough time to save the game and when Kovacevic got to the foul line with 10 seconds left to play the crowd was thinking overtime.

Unfortunately Kovacevic missed the second shot. Although her team-mate won the offensive rebound and fed the ball back to her, the three-pointer was off target also.

Kristina Topuzovic picked up the rebound again and tried to lay the ball in on the buzzer.

Sweden suffered and the tears from both sides started to flow.

Amanda Zahui led Sweden with 24 points and 12 points while Kovacevic was the top scorer for Serbia with 21 points and 8 rebounds.

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Emma Meesseman time

 Emma Messeman © FIBA Europe / Viktor Rébay    Due to the fact that Romania's classification game was shown on local television, the final quarter-final had to be played in smaller arena.

Emma Meesseman (in picture) came up big for Belgium during the last 90 seconds of the game as she outscored Turkey by herself 6-0 to take Belgium into the semi-final (60-58).

Meesseman finished the game with a complete statistic line of 24 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. When she was not scoring Antonia Delaere took over and finished the match with 15 points while Julie Vanloo dished out 4 assists while scoring 7 points on a poor shooting game by her standards.

For Turkey Ayse Cora was the go-to player. She led her side with 20 points but ended up missing the shot to take the game into overtime. Olcay Cakir followed up with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Özge Kavurmacioglu finished with 11 points.

Belgium were lucky that Turkey had an off day from the free-throw line with 14-from-23 but Meesseman was unstoppable when it mattered most.

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U18 FIBA Europe European Championship basketball picture credits:

FIBA Europe / Viktor Rébay

Date created: 12 August 2011

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