Italy Slips Past Spain In U18 Final

Italy knew defense was the key to beat Spain. Suffocating its versatile players. And that’s what they did. Italy stopped Laura Gil, leaving he in just 5 points for the game and forced Spain to commit 28 turnovers, despite losing the rebounding battle 43-29.

On the offensive end we saw a very effective Italian team, the contrary that in the semifinal against France

First quarter was all about the trade, teams went up and down scoring and defending to end the first ten minutes 17-15 for Italy, but in the second were two different halves.

In the first quarter, Spain controled the game and was ahead the scoreboard until minute 5:30 (29-21) having left Italy scoreless the two previous minutes. However Spain wasn’t good in the shooting and couldn’t manage to pull away.

In the second Italy began full court defense and managed to break Spain’s defense. They left Spain in two points -31-24 by Elena Díaz with 3 minutes to the interval and in the offense scored 10 pts in a 10-2 run started and capped by Beatrice Carta to reach the interval tied, 31-31.

After the break Italy continued the full court defense, making Spain’s life misery since Miguel Méndez’s players couldn’t find a way to face the rim, and if they were missing the shots. Anyway the quarter was a trade. Italy got in front at the early stages but Spain tied the score in two occasions, at 35 and at 37, but after that last tie and with 4:30 remaining Beatrice Carta hit the three and Nene Diene scored two points more to make it 42-37, and their defense did the rest to keep them in front until the end of the quarter –and eventually of the game- that finished 50-43 after two freebies from Irene Cigliani.

Spain put zone defense in the last quarter and that slowed down Italy the first two minutes, but what they didn’t do on the offense they’d do it in defense and Spain also went scoreless in that spam.

Then Beatrice Carta made it 52-43, the biggest lead for Italy at that time.

Spain put its guts to Comeback. A block over a Chiara Zanin fast break from Marina Delgado and a three pointer from Elisabet Vivas added to 2 pts from Laura Gil and two more from Marina Delgado put Spain in two points with six minutes remaining, 52-50, but in the next possession Lucia Morsiani scored, Spain missed its offense and Francesca Dotto scored a knockout three pointer, since Spain was seven down again, 57-50, with 5:15 remaining.

However they still had time to recover Italy didn’t seem to get tired on defense while in the offense they slowly pour points in the scoreboard while stopping Spain’s offense and with 1:50 to the end Marta Masoni scored the 63-53 that meant the Gold Medal for Italy. Andrea Vilaró hit the three with one minute remaining but in that moments was the heart what was pushing already, not the brain and Italy took the Gold medal with a final score of 63-56.

Marina Delgado scored 14 pts and Elisabet Vivas 12 for Spain. Laura Gil had 9 boards and 5 points.

In Italy Beatrice Carta had 17 pts and Gaia Gorini had 10 and 8 boards

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