Spain wins the silver medal in a close brush with Russia

The dream of taking the gold in the 2007 EuroBasket games in Italy disappeared as Spain was unable to surpass the physical differences of Russia’s team who won 74-68. Nevertheless, this final score doesn’t tarnish the exceptional tournament played by Spain’s Women’s National Team, who took home the silver medal and a ticket to Peking to play in the pre-Olympic Games.

As she had done so many times before in these EuroBasket games, Amaya Valdemoro started off the game by scoring a triple for Spain. Yet scoring in this particular game was arduous work. Russia however didn’t work as hard; whenever possible they exploited their physical superiority in the paint. Spain worked the situation to the contrary by taking exterior shots, namely triples by Montaña and Aguilar, which led the score to be 17-12 at minute 8 of the game.

Russia tried to make the game harder at the point, with actions that bordered on being legal. These actions worked in their favor as they managed to open a 10 point gap by the end of the first quarter (23-13).
Spain made the Russian women play outside of their comfort zone as they obstructed play, yet all of the loose balls fell into Russian hands and made for easy baskets. A 2-12 run put Spain in a difficult position (33-15, minute 13). With Valdemoro and Aguilar on the court Spain again tried to threaten with outside shots, yet they were few and far between, and Russia wouldn’t forgive such errors. With inside shots by Osipova and Arthesina, the score difference kept
growing until Russia was up 44-23, the biggest difference of the game until Valdemoro made a free throw before halftime. At the break, the score was 44-24.

Spain returned to the court with hopes of battle. Spain’s attempts couldn’t hold back a triple by
Korstin, yet Valdemoro and her trademark shot sparked more ambition for Spain, which was contagious for all the teammates. Laia Palau was shooting as well and the baskets started adding up leading to a scare for Russia when the gap was closing in at 53-45. The timeouts taken by Igor Grudin weren’t enough to find holes in Spain’s spider web defense created by
Evaristo Pérez. The dream was still alive. Laia Palau closed the gap a bit more (53-49) as María Stepanova weakened, and Shchegoleva missed free throw shots.

Yet Russia had a great team, and Korstin, and Shchegoleva herself, gave a bit of life to the group
although Spain continued without a rest (61-53 at minute 36). There were a few moments in which Russia seemed like they would break away, but then Amaya Valdemoro would hit a triple and Montañana would chip in, which led Spain to be only 7 points behind with two minutes to go (65-58). Valdemoro responded to Osipova‘s baskets but Russia was still in the lead 69-65 with 32 seconds to go. Attempts to hit baskets by Valdemoro were unsuccessful at this point, and
Spain’s hopes were dashed.

Spain (13+11+21+23): Pascua (2), Palau (18), Aguilar (3), Montañana (11), Valdemoro (26) –five starters- Camps (0), Sánchez (0), Martínez (0), Zurro (5), Lima (3), Morales (-) and Herradas (-).

Russia (23+21+9+21) : Arteshina (11), Rakhmatulina (4), Korstin (18), Stepanova (8), Osipova (12) – five starters- Vodopyanova (0), Demagina (2), Karpunina (0), Shchegoleva (14), Sokolovskaya (0), Lisina (0) and Abrosimova (5).

Referees: Koromilas, Cerebuch and Tatic.

Source: FEB


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