Spain defend Women’s EuroBasket title

Spain beat France 86-66 to claim their second straight Women’s EuroBasket title in Belgrade on Sunday night.

In a rematch of the 2017 final, Spain, like they did two years ago, overpowered their French counterparts both offensively and defensively.

Led by 23 points from Marta Xargay, the Spanish were clinical throughout en route to their third European crown in four tournaments with Astou Ndour winning MVP honours.

It didn’t matter how tough the defensive barriers were from France, Spain constantly found the answers as they shot 50 percent from the field, at times looking unstoppable.

The Spanish definitely saved their best performance of the tournament until last. Despite finding ways to scrape wins at times, there was no doubting this one.

France, led by Sandrine Gruda’s 18 points, were never allowed to get out of first gear. They made it to their fourth straight Women’s EuroBasket final – but like in 2017 – have come up short again.

Spain raced out of the blocks, leading 32-21 in a free-flowing opening quarter and throughout the second, they managed to maintain their double-digit advantage.

France did threaten towards the end of the third period, narrowing Spain’s lead to 12 points in the final moments.

Spain moved up the gears once more, with their lead peaking at 23 points, easing to a fourth European women’s title.

Serbia scoop bronze

Hosts Serbia completed the podium line-up in Belgrade with a routine 81-55 win over the tournament’s surprise package Great Britain in the third place game.

A closely-fought first half where Serbia led 40-33 was blown open in the third as the hosts held GB to just six points to open up a sizeable cushion, good enough for victory.

Sonja Petrovic led Serbia with 14 points. Temi Fagbenle led all scorers with 23 points for Great Britain.

Women’s EuroBasket MVP: Astou Ndour (Spain)

All-Tournament Team: Sandra Petrovic (Serbia); Sandrine Gruda (France); Marta Xargay (Spain); Astou Ndour (Spain) and Temi Fagbenle (Great Britain)

Picture: FIBA