U16 WOMEN SEMI-FINALS
Belgian will go for gold at the U16 European Championship for Women after a 54-43 victory over Italy in Cagliari.
And Arvid Diels' side saved their very best for last, scoring the semi-final's last 12 points to roll into Sunday's deciding game of the tournament.
|Elisa Penna's 14 points were not enough for Italy|
Hind Ben Abdelkader once again shone for the Belgians, hitting a game-high 29 points including the score that put her side in front for good during the third quarter.
But for long spells, the Italians had provided stern resistance, building an early 8-2 lead before their rivals went ahead for the first time with a 7-0 run in the second quarter.
Italy, roared on by a passionate home crowd, hit back to lead 31-25 at half-time and their advantage grew to 8 immediately after the interval.
But Renato Nani's side - led by 14 from Elisa Penna - saw Belgium go on a 13-0 burst to take control. And although the Italians cut the gap to 45-43 with 4:45 left, their resistance ultimately proved futile.
"At the start, we found it difficult, we were missing shots, we were under pressure," said Ben Abdelkader. "But in the last minutes of the game it all came together
"Now we have a chance to fight for the European Championship. We've worked hard for this and now we want to win."