Serbia have won their first Eurobasket Women title after beating France 76-68 in the championship game in Budapest on Sunday night.
The win also gives Serbia the automatic birth to the 2016 Rio Olympics and drops France, now back-to-back runners up, to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament next year.
Ana Dabovic had a game-high 25 points for the Serbians as she scooped the Eurobasket Women’s MVP award in emphatic style.
“Getting this medal means everything, to me, to the team and to the country,” Dabovic said. “It makes me so proud, playing with this group of girls who really wanted to win.
“To have the gold and to get this MVP means so much. But it’s also for all the girls back home who will have watched and maybe now want to be like us. This is the best thing we could do, to get them to love basketball.”
Dabovic had the hot hand, but she had a supporting cast, led by Sonja Petrovic, who was similarly clinical with 22 points and seven boards. Danielle Page also justified herself as a wise naturalised pick with plenty of hard work and also a smart 12 points and eight rebounds.
Having seen an eight-point lead almost eradicated by France with just over three minutes remaining, Dabovic scored from a well worked baseline inbound play and then quickly followed it with a clever move to the basket.
Those back-to-back scores erased the nerves and really laid the foundation for Serbia to progress further as Page effectively iced the game with 90 seconds left on the game clock as she sweetly dropped a baseline jump shot.
Sandrine Gruda led four French players with 16 points.
DABOVIC HEADLINES ALL-STAR FIVE
As well as being named MVP, Ana Dabovic was included in the Eurobasket Women All-Star five.
Celine Dumerc (France), Ana Dabovic (Serbia), Sonja Petrovic (Serbia), Alba Torrens (Spain), Sandrine Gruda (France).