The first day of qualification round action round in the Global Vision Fiba Europe U18 European Championship Women in Timişoara went well for Greece and Belarus as they picked up their tickets for the semi-final and keep their unbeaten record.
Croatia and England missed the chance of qualifying directly for the semi-final after suffering their first defeats of the tournament to Romania and the Netherlands respectively. They can still qualify and keep the hope of promotion alive provided they win their final qualification round matches on Friday.
Greece reached as first team the semi-final
Greece, already in the semi-final, are thinking of promotion.Greece have booked their ticket for the semi-final after beating Denmark (70-54) in the first game of the qualification round.
Artemis Spanou and Anthoula Chatzigiakoumi did most of the offensive work for Greece with 26 and 20 points respectively.
Denmark lasted just three minutes in the game when they led (4-3). Greece then stepped on the accelerator and by the end of the first quarter they led (24-14).
The Danes fought tooth and nail during the rest of the game but were unable to make up the deficit despite the efforts of Gritt Ryder (15 points) and Nikoline Ostergaard (11 points).
Greece have not dropped a match in this tournament and will face Croatia in their last group game on Friday hoping to maintain their perfect record.
England lost first match in the Fiba Europe European Championship U18 Women competition
England had a poor second quarter in which they managed to score 4 points while the Netherlands had a super motivated Zara Butters.
Butters was everywhere. She scored 25 points, picked up 7 rebounds and also dished out 4 assists as her side overturned a 6-point first-quarter deficit to beat England (74-62).
The Netherlands did not have the physical strength of England. But with excellent shooting from behind the arc during the second quarter including six three-pointers put England on the back foot.
Temitope Fagbenle continued her double-double festival for England with 21 points and 14 rebounds while Renee Busch added 16 points. Yet it was the failure to hit a single shot from beyond the arc that resulted in England dropping their first match of the tournament.
Willemijn Kallenberg and Petronella Kraaijenoord contributed 12 and 11 points each for the Dutch team. This victory move the Netherlands above England in Group F.
Romania had an easy win
Romania keep their promotion hopes alive by beating Croatia (80-60). In front of a large crowd Romania's Gabriela Cursaru fired in 25 points.
Romania led from start to finish and were only troubled during the first quarter. Cursaru gave a demonstration in the art of three-point shooting with 6-of-7. Her team-mates also hit 6 more shots from behind the arc.
Croatia were unable to get into any real rhythm and could not take advantage of their trips to the free-throw line by just hitting 21-from-34.
Belarus won despite last-quarter charge by Finland
Belarus have qualified for the semi-final after beating Finland (82-69) behind the scoring power of Maryna Ivashchanka who scored a game high 25 points.
Belarus took the lead for good with just four minutes played and won the first quarter (20-11).
Finland struggled early in the second quarter and fell further behind (15-30) with less than four minutes played in the quarter.
However they rallied together and traded baskets for the rest of the quarter (28-38).
Yet Belarus went to work after the break to go 16 points clear with just over two minutes played (47-31). Ivashchanka was on fire and Belarus went into the final quarter in front by 20 points (65-45).
The Finish Wolves made a fight of it during the last quarter but left it late.
Belarus have qualified from Group F for the semi-final and also remain unbeaten.
Finland can still qualify for the semi-final but then must beat the Netherlands first by a big margin and hope that Belarus beat England.