FIBA Europe U16 Division A Two bursts of acceleration was all Spain required to beat France
France have no more free cards in the FIBA Europe U16 European Championship for Women Division A in Cagliari after falling to Spain (48-72) in their second qualifying round game.
A defeat in their next game against Hungary could mark the end of the dream of playing in the 2012 U17 World Championship in the Netherlands.
The relegation matches were played first on day 5 with Serbia drawing a step closer to Division A survival by beating Croatia (81-74).
However the match turned into a one-on-one contest between Sanja Mandic from Serbia and Inja Butina from Croatia.
Mandic just edged the battle with 31 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals while Butina scored 29 points and dished out 3 assists.
Finland are still searching for their first win after another defeat. Finland are having problems shooting the ball and their free-throwing skills have disappeared.
Poland won the match (66-45) with 12 points coming from Monika Buczak and Magdalena Pisera. Karolina Pobozy added 11 while Magdalena Szajtauer was the most consistent performer with 9 points and 12 rebounds.
You may read the stories of interest by selecting the link below on the news from the second day of action from the qualifying round of the 2011 FIBA Europe U16 European Championship for Women Division A.
Spain did not play up to their usual standard in this game but did just enough at the right moments to make sure that France would not trouble them.
The match itself started very slowly. France were passive and not prepared to shoot the ball while Spain just struggled to find a rhythm.
All the same thanks to scores by Zenaida Perez and Maria Arrojo Spain led (4-0) with three minutes played.
France just refused to shoot the ball and the first 6 points came from the free-throw line. France were in difficulties and also had issues with the officials. Mousdandy Djaldi-Tabdi was warned by the officials for flopping (falling down in the paint without apparent contact made).
While France huffed and puffed Spain went on fast break after fast break to stretch their advantage (15-6).
However the first quarter ended on a high for France with their first field goal by Alexia Lacaule on the buzzer.
Spain started the second quarter leading (15-8) but then went through a negative period when nothing went right.
France - playing more aggressively - drew level (17-17) off a pair of free throws by Bétengere Dinga-Mbomi with just over 3 1/2 played in the quarter.
Ariadna Pujol stepped up for Spain and all of a sudden Spain were back to their best while scoring 13 unanswered points in a four-minute blitz (30-19).
France finally got to the basket and then traded scores with Spain for the remaining time leading up to the interval.
Spent went into the locker room (36-24) ahead. But their coach Evaristo Pérez was not happy.
After the break France started more aggressively and with Assistan Koné and Dinga-Mbomi scoring they appeared to be coming back into the game. Yet Spain was able to maintain the advantage with back to back scores by Judith Sole (40-28).
Disaster for France came two minutes into the quarter with Djaldi-Tabdi falling down and screaming in pain after a defensive block on Zenaida Perez.
Djaldi-Tabdi appeared to have rolled her ankle. She was eventually taken off the court and did not return for the rest of the game.
Aby Gaye came on as her replacement and scored the resulting free throws. Koné continued her one-lady show for France as Spain started to make mistakes.
However the game was not very interesting with France throwing the ball into the paint and Spain hitting on the fast break. Yet this is what to expect at U16 level.
France had reduced the deficit to 5 points (41-46). But Spain was able to regain control once more by scoring the last 4 points of the quarter for a 9-point advantage going into the final quarter (50-41).
Spain started the final quarter slowly with Koné reducing the French deficit slightly from the free-throw line (44-52) with her 16th and last point of the game with eight minutes to play.
Spain then switched to zone and went on to score 13 unanswered points in less than four minutes.
Leading (65-44) with five minutes to play the contest was over and Spain strolled the rest of the way (72-48).
Five Spanish players finished in double digits: Arrojo 14, Leticia Romero 11 (6 steals), 10 points each for Pujop, Yaiza Rodriguez and Sole.
French players: Clémentine Morateur DNP, Alexia Lacaule 2, Bétengere Dinga-Mbomi 8, Lysa Millavet 2, Ondaye Elenga 0, Mousdandy Djaldi-Tabdi 6, Fleur Devilliers 3, Laetitia Guapo 0, Assistan Koné 16 (10 rebounds), Marie Mané 0, Aby Gaye 7, Marie Milapie 4
Sweden scored the first 6 points of the match against Greece and dominated the first quarter (20-8). With Gabby Hanson on fire during the first 20 minutes Sweden were able to take a 20-point lead into the locker room (45-25).
Greece fought back during the second half. But with 11 points coming from Regan Magarity in the final quarter, Greece had no chance.
Magarity and Hanson finished with 23 and 22 points each as Sweden won the game (76-60).
Belgium blew past Russia (51-36) to book their place in the quarter-final of the FIBA Europe U16 championship. They never trailed in this match. Hind Ben Abdelkade was the only player in double digits for Belgium with 24 points.
The Czech Republic had to dig deep in the final quarter to get past the Slovak Repulic (70-60). The two teams were level (47-47) with seven minutes to play.
Klára Krivánková put the Czech Republic in the lead for good with 6:25 to play. Mariana Opocenska and Aneta Mainclová then went on a scoring spree to see the Czech Republic trough.
Kamila Hoskova was the leading scorer for the winners while Terézia Páleníková had 17 points for the Slovak Republic.
If the Czech Republic do not beat Belgium in the final group match then the winner in the match between Greece and the Slovak Republic may qualify for the quarter-final.
Italy are keeping the home fans happy at the FIBA Europe youth international basketball festival in Cagliari. They beat previously unbeaten Turkey (67-49) on the back of 22 points, 3 assists and 3 steals by Elisa Penna (left).
Italy pulled away late in the first quarter to open up a 7-point lead (22-15) going into the second quarter.
The second quarter was not pretty with neither side doing anything offensively with just 13 points scored between them.
Italy remained focused during the third quarter and went into the final quarter with a lead of 9 points (48-39).
Leading by 11 points with four minutes to play, Turkey gave up leaving Italy free to score 11 unanswered points to close the game on a 11-2 run.
Italy are the third team to qualify from this group.
The Netherlands are at the U17 FIBA World Championship for Women next year because they are hosting the tournament so the stakes in the competition is different for them.
They needed a big win over Hungary in order to have a chance of qualifying for the quarter-final. They beat Hungary (60-37) with Merlin Lammerink leading the way with 15 points.
The Netherlands' possible qualification depends on Hungary beating France in the final group game.