|12 July 2012|
U16 WOMEN DIVISION B
Slovenia stunned Latvia with a second-half comeback to taste victory on the opening day of the U16 European Championship Women Division B in Tallinn.
There were also victories for Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Luxembourg and Portugal.
SLOVENIA SHOCK LATVIA, BELARUS DOMINATE
The Latvians had a dream start and led the Group D game 37-25 at half-time and maintained a 12-point lead for the first couple of minutes in the second half.
Slovenia then shocked them.
Down 42-30, Manca Jelenc sparked an 11-0 run with a jump shot.
Another jumper by Jelenc gave the Slovenians a 51-49 advantage heading to the last quarter.
Slovenia didn't take the lead for good, though, until Spela Hatunsek buried a three-ball with 7:32 remaining in the game.
That gave Teo Hojc's side a 54-53 advantage and Maja Jakobcic followed with two more baskets to increase the lead to five.
Twice Latvia closed the gap to two points but Slovenia kept their noses in front.
Despite the loss, the Latvians felt like they had played their part in a terrific encounter.
Rudolfs Rozitis, the team's assistant coach, said: "It was an awesome game.
"The first game brought stress to the coaches and to the players as well.
"Both teams played well, but Slovenia was a little bit better.
"Their preparation for the game was good.
"But it was the first game and we are ready for the coming games."
Jelenc had a game-high 16 points for Slovenia while Beate Markane poured in 15 for Latvia.
"We started badly and we were nervous," said Slovenia's assistant coach, Stojan Fink.
"But at half time, we made some changes and said to the girls to be more aggressive and be better both on offense and defense."
The other Group D game saw Belarus win convincingly against Norway, 85-19.
The Norwegians were overmatched, trailing 25-2 by the end of the first quarter.
Belarus small forward Darya Panasiuk had 23 points and six steals while power forward Viyaleta Kuiliak had 21 points and an eye-popping 19 rebounds.
In the only Group B game of the day, Lithuania dominated Denmark and won, 76-55.
Ruta Drungilaite scored 18 points for the Baltic side.
Lithuania were on top, 40-30, at half-time but then outscored Denmark 24-13 in the third quarter to take a firm grip on proceedings.
FINLAND AND PORTUGAL WIN IN GROUP A
Finland pulled away from Ukraine in the fourth quarter of their Group A game and won, 67-52.
Tuuli Menna finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
The Finns were on top 49-43 at the end of the third quarter and then outscored Ukraine 18-9 in the last frame.
"Our plan was to take Ukraine out of their comfort zone and play full court," Finland coach Antti Koskelainen said.
"We had better moments and also not so good moments, but luckily we had enough experience to take the victory."
Portugal were decisive winners in the other Group A clash with Estonia.
After leading 29-24 at half-time, the Portuguese outscored their opponents 21-5 in the third frame en route to a 64-40 victory.
Small forward Simone Costa led the scoring for Ana Neves' team with 15 points while for Estonia, Tatjana Razguliajeva had 12 points.
COMEBACK QUEENS LUXEMBOURG PREVAIL OVER ROMANIA
Poland rolled to a 75-55 victory over Bulgaria in Group C.
The 16-year-old shooting guard Julia Tyszkiewicz led a balanced scoring attack with 16 points.
The Poles buried six of 12 shots from long range but struggled at the free-throw line, making only nine of 23 (39.1%).
Teodora Dineva had 17 points in defeat.
Luxembourg trailed by 17 points midway through the second quarter but prevailed 84-76 over Romania.
With 3:45 seconds to go, the score was level at 69-69.
Hannah Pauly poured in six straight points to put Luxembourg in front to stay.
Pauly, a point guard hit a three-ball and then a shot from inside the arc for a 74-69 lead.