Spain Join Russia In The Final After Overcoming Belarus

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Spain 70 Belarus 54

Sviatlana Volnaya scored the first points of the game from down-town but it was the early defensive duties accomplished by Anastasiya Veremeenko on Amaya Valdemoro , including a block, for Belarus to go into an early lead (7-0). Spain's first-point only arrived after a team time-out: Ana Montanana was on hand to open their account after nearly five minutes of play. Valdemoro then lost her marker to score on the very next attack and from that moment Spain was back in the game. A 7:0 run that included a trey from Montanana and a jump shot from Valdemoro took them into the lead (11-9). But Natalia Marchanka put Belarus back in front briefly with a shot from the land of many but it was Spain that dominated affairs. When both sides abandoned the inside game, it became a 3-point shoot -out with Tatyana Troina hitting the last on the buzzer as Belarus trailed (18-15).

Tatyana Troina started the second period with a similar shot to the one that finished the previous quarter but this time just within the 3-point line. Cindy Lima was keeping Belarus out of the paint with some tough physical defence, leaving Belarus no option but to shoot from outside. This they accomplished time and time again but Spain also have players that can shoot from the distance so they more or less neutralized each other out and Spain maintained a reasonable lead (28-22). Anatoli Buyalski appeared to see what was happening and called a time-out. His side reverted back to the plays of the first round of games with a couple of big baskets (2 + 3) to make it a 1-point game. Valdemoro can also hit big shots and obliged with a trey but the joy was short lived as Spain left Troina open in the corner who hit her second 3-pointer and her teams sixth of the game. Spain went in the interval leading (33-30) due to Lucila Pascua managing to score a rear inside basket.

Pascua was back to open the scoring for Spain but it was an excellent 3-pointer from Elisa Aguilar that got the crowd on their feet. Ana Montanana's perseverance in the box won her a trip to the line. She hit the free-throws and Spain were up by 10 points (40-30). Veremeenko showed her class as she managed to spin and put in a reverse lay-up right under the basket while drawing the foul. Aguilera was left open again for Spain and restored the 10-point advantage with her third from beyond the arc. Spain increased their advantage to 15 points thanks to two pieces of magic by Valdemoro (50-35). Katsiaryna Snytsina was not having a great game but if you leave her open, she will score, and scoring she did. This inspired Yelana Leuchanka who threw her weight around and scored her team's next 5 points. Troina once again scored the last points of the period to reduce their deficit to 7 points at the end of the quarter.

Belarus scored after seven seconds in the final period and then that was it for another five minutes as Spain went on a 12:0 run before Veremeenko ended the drought (64-49). Once again experience was the difference as Spain negotiated the final few minutes without allowing Belarus any chance of destabilising them and hence qualify for the final (70-54).

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