Youth international basketball qualification round summary
In the final day of qualification games in the youth international basketball tournament in Nitra the semi-final fixtures became known.
The Czech Republic, despite having lost on day 6, have qualified from Group E and will meet Group F winner Russia who defeated France. In the other semi-final Lithuania will play France.
With the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women taking place next year the semi-finals have an additional importance.
There are five places for Europe allocated for this competition at the moment. Hence the semi-finalist have already qualified.
The last spot will be given to the team that takes the fifth position.
Lithuania maintaining perfect record
Lithuania were in France earlier on in the youth international season and won the 20th edition of the youth international basketball event in Rezé by beating Australia in the final.
They demonstrated a quality in Rezé in hitting three-pointers at crucial moments in games. They had to apply the same tactic in their last group game against The Czech Republic while trailing (55-53) with three minutes to play.
Aurime Rinkeviciute hit a trey to put Lithuania in front. 30 seconds later a shot followed from well behind the arc by Marina Solopova to give Lithuania a 5-point lead (60-55).
Despite a late rally by their opponents, Lithuania went on to win (68-61).
Rinkeviciute finished with a game-high 26 points while Giedre Paugaitehad had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds. The Czech Republic's top scorer was Klaudia Rosenbaumova with 9 points.
Russia taking down France
With Spain beating Sweden earlier in the day Russia's place in the semi-final was assured. Hence the players were not under so much pressure.
France started well and led early in the game (13-8), maintaining this margin (19-12) with 90 seconds to play in the first period and finally edged (19-15) going into the second quarter.
France were finding it difficult to contain Liubob Paskalenko (right) who is 2:03m. Russia started to reduce their deficit and came to within 1 point of France after an Anastasia Kolotil'shchikova trey (20-21).
France then put a 9-0 run together to open the first significant lead of the game (33-23). However France's foul problems halted their progress as they allowed Russia numerous trips to the free-throw line.
France were still ahead at the interval (35-33).
Anastasiya Shilova turned the game in favour to the Russian side by hitting 8 straight points during a Russian 10-0 run which put Russia in front for the first time (51-43).
Then Russia never allowed France back and went on to win the match (65-57).
Paskalenko led the scoring with 13 points for Russia while Shilova finished on 12 points. Diandra Tchatchouang led the French scoring with 18 points.
Group E summary
The Slovak Republic, the hosts, also got back to winning ways as they beat Poland (65-57), with Klaudia Lukacovicova scoring 23 points and taking 10 rebounds.
The Slovak Republic controlled the first half of the match and led by as many as 10 points at one stage (29-19) but went into the locker room with a reduced advantage (37-35).
The lead changed several times in the third period with the hosts going into the final quarter in front (50-46).
Poland did get to within 2 points (53-55) within the first three minutes of the last period but were not able to get any closer.
Olivia Tomialowicz led the Polish offence with 17 points and was helped by Klaudia Sosnowska who finished with a double-double 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Slovak Republic finished third and Poland fourth in the group and will play in the 5th place classification round with Spain and Serbia.
In the other group game, Turkey edged out Ukraine (74-72).
Turkey made hard work of things as they opened the match with an (11-0) start, a margin they maintained at the interval (47-38).
Ukraine came back into the game during the third period as they outscored Turkey (21-14). They eventually took the lead (69-68) with three minutes left to play with Ol'Ha Maznichenko hitting a shot from the land of many.
Turkey had to dig deep and managed to hit 5 points. However Ukraine's Hanna Yeremeychuk hit a three-pointer to bring them back to within 1 point (72-73).
The last 48 seconds were messy and in the end Ozge Yavas was fouled. She split a pair of free-throws that secured the victory for Turkey.
Gamze Tamkaz had a game-high 29 points and Yavas added 18 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds for Turkey, while for Ukraine Maznichenko led the way with 24 points and 10 rebounds while Rymarenko had 21 points.
Group F summary
Spain ended Sweden's dream of reaching the semi-final as they won (81-69). The Spanish side opened the match with a 14-0 run and never looked back.
Sweden were forced to chase the game and trailed by 9 points by the end of the first period (13-22) and by 6 points by the interval (37-43).
Spain tightened up in defence in the second half of the match and did not allow Sweden to close the gap at any stage.
Cristina Ouvina (left) and Vega Gimeno both had 19 points for Spain, while Cleopatra Forsman had 23 points and took 11 rebounds for Sweden.
Carlos Colinas,the Spanish head coach, is now concentrating on finishing fifth, as there might still be a chance of qualifying for the U19 World Championships.
Serbia's height was too much for Bulgaria as they won (78-61). Sara Krnjic (right) dominated the game with 24 points and 16 rebounds. It was her fourth double-double of the tournament. Stanislava Stankova finished with 15 points for Bulgaria.
Russia are the winners of Group F, while France finished second. Spain take the third position and Serbia are fourth. Sweden started the day with a chance for qualifying for a semi-final spot and in the end finished fifth and will join Bulgaria in the 9th place qualification round.
The classification games
While teams are fighting for honours and possible qualification for the U19 World Championships, there is a second competition at this U18 youth international basketball festival.
Two teams will be relegated to Division B at the end of this competition. Belarus beat Romania (77-69) in their second match and as a result have secured Division A status for another year.
Veranika Valeuskaya led the way for Belarus with 17 points. But it was the performance of Elisabeth Pavel from Romania that made the headlines. She finished with 25 points, 3 steals and 3 blocks.
Romania went into the final quarter trailing by 20 points and hit Belarus 21-3 to come to within 2 points (69-71) before running out of steam.
Italy beat Croatia (73-41) in the other game. With this defeat Croatia are relegated.
Italy will play against Romania with the winner remaining in Division A. The match will be held on Saturday, 26 July 2008.