Italy Ends Latvia’s Hopes Of Making It To The Worlds

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ITALY 68 – LATVIA 66

Latvia came out strong and was ahead 12-3 after 3:30 Gunta Basko and Zane Tamane scored 4 apiece- Italy struggled in front Latvia’s defense, while Basko lead the team in the offense to end the first ahead 25-10.

Both teams struggled in the offense in the first 5 minutes of the second, with Orly 2 points scored in that frame. Raffaella Masciadri scored the second basket of the game making it 27-12 but the latvians still controlled the game, stretching their lead and reaching a biggest lead of 22 pts, 39-17, after an Anda Eibele baskets with 2 minutes for the interval, in which Italy woke up scoring 6 straight points, a three point play from Maria Franchini and a three pointer from Raffaella Masciadri, to reach the interval trailing 39-22.

After the break Italy improved on defense and managed to scratch on Latvia’s lead, reaching the the fourth trailing by just nine points, 50-41. Marte Alexander kept Italy in the game with 7 pts in the third and put them 47-37 with 2:50 remaining.

Italy took advantage of their momentum and thanks to a great defense just allowed Latvia 4 pts in the first 8 minutes, with a big performance from Laura Macchi. Kristine Klarklina made it 54-47 with 4:30 remaining adn then Italy hit an 8-0 run sparked by two freebies from Raffaella Masciadri and capped by 6 straight pts from Laura Macchi to cap the comeback, making it 55-54 with 2:15 remaining in front of an struggling Lativa offense and teams traded baskets from then on. Gunta Basko made it 62-60 with a three pointer with 15 minutes remaining, but Mariangela Cirone was fouled and scored the free throws to send the game to overtime.

It took two minutes to the teams to score. Zane Tamane started a trade Turing the next minute but the score stopped tied 66-66 with two minutes remaining. None of the teams scored until the last 15 second when Laura Macchi drove to the basket and scored the victory basket for Italy, 68-66.

Laura Macchi scored 20 pts for Italy and Raffaella Masciadri had 18 pts and 7 boards.

Gunta Basko had 22 pts and 7 boards for Latvia and Zane Tamane added 13 pts and Anete Jekabsone 12.

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