2012 FIBA Europe U16 Championship
What the statistics do not tell

As organisers of the competition FIBA Europe supply statistics on all kinds of things but in reality the statistics do not tell the whole story.

On the final of group action in the match between Italy and Netherlands, Fenne van der Wielen (Netherlands) was hurt and not available to play. Up stepped Asa Kantebeen to hit the biggest three in her young career at crunch time to change the course of the match.

Another example of why U16 basketball is great to watch is the experience of the Slovak Republic: on day 2 they beat Greece but instead of celebration of joy, players were in tears because they only won by 9 points.

The reason for the distress was that they did not believe that Greece would beat Serbia by a bigger margin that would save them - in case of a three-way tie - from playing in the relegation round.

Anyway they should not have worried because on the following day Greece beat Serbia by 14 points. Hence their tears of despair turned to joy late in evening.

Youth basketball is so unpredictable these days that nothing is written in advance.

Womensbasketball-in-France would like to thank the coaches and delegates from some of the teams of giving their thoughts on this tournament and hopes for the next phase of the FIBA Europe U16 European Championship for women.

Group E: Some teams on fire, others improving

The Dutch coach Arvid Diels who has been at many FIBA youth competitions and will be at the U17 FIBA Championship for Women in August is pleased with the progress so far and nothing more. In simple words the team is still progressing and can hopefully play much better.

Belgium have been playing total team basketball with nobody clocking more than 81 minutes out of the 120 minutes played so far. They just need one victory for a place in the quarter-final.

Russia have some of the tallest players on display in the tournament and look rather intimidating. However they have needed so far all the skills of Daria Kolosovskaya to pull them out of tricky situations. Like Belgium they just need one victory to be in the last eight.

The remaining four teams in the group are: Hungary, Slovak Republic, Greece and Sweden. They all have had their moments but need to step up a gear to make the games more interesting.

For Sweden the absence of Regan Magarity is a handicap. But having avoided the relegation group they can just go out and play. Greece and the Slovak Republic are good hustlers and with the pressure over from the first phase hopefully their basketball will improve.

As hosts Hungary are under pressure from the supporters. Yet apart from the game against Belgium they have been solid without being spectacular.

Group F: Anybody can beat anybody

France have the advantage as the only team taking maximum points from the first phase. Still they need to be careful because one win does not mean qualification.

Unfortunately many teams playing in this group have had players injured so it is not possible to give a deep analysis.

Croatia start in last position but with Ivana Dojkic (in video), who is the leading scorer after the first phase, they remain a very dangerous team.

They work on fast breaks and have some of the quickest ball runners in the tournament.

The Czech Republic appear to love drama and suspense. Gabriela Andelová is a crafty player that has so many tricks up her sleeve that even when she is not on the court she appears to be directing the play.

Everybody knows that Spain can play better than they did in the first round. If they decide not to contest defensive rebounds then they leave themselves open.

The Netherlands have shown that they can play without Laura Cornelius (unfortunately injured). They have an inside game, can shoot three-pointers and defend well. The Netherlands are likely to provide plenty of excitement.

Italy looked so good in the first two games that people were looking at them as the champions in waiting. However the defeat against the Netherlands showed that they are still progressing and should improve as the competition goes on with Cecilia Zandalasini driving them on.

The relegation group start their classification round

The rules have changed this year with just one place reserved in Division A instead of two places like in previous years.

This means that for Turkey or Serbia, it could be the first time in playing in Division B in case of failure with Serbia having already been involved in the relegation round in 2011.

England and Germany won promotion last year so in either case it may be a quick return.

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Date created: 16 July 2012

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