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Watch: Malta women secure semifinal spot at FIBA U-16 Division C European Championship

Malta's Vanya Baldacchino drives towards the hoop against Armenia. Photo: FIBA

Second win as Malta beat Armenia for top spot

Malta confirmed their passage to the semifinals of the FIBA Under-16 Division C European Championships on Wednesday when they beat Armenia 62-46 in Andorra.

With two wins under their belt, Malta’s players will now be all but assured of the top spot in Group A before their final game against Gibraltar on Thursday (tip-off: 2.30pm) while Georgia and Armenia face off in the earlier game of the day.

For Malta, it was yet another impressive performance for Caffe Moak Luxol trio Vanja Baldacchino, Sarah Fenech Pace, and Sarah Sciberras as Baldacchino led Malta’s scoring with 19 points on the day. She added eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Fenech Pace and Sciberras – leading scorers against Georgia on Tuesday – both scored 14, with Fenech Pace adding eight rebounds in a strong defensive performance, eight assists, and three steals. Sciberras dished out four assists and made three steals. Shanice Farrugia rounded up the double-digits with 11 points, six rebounds, and four steals.

As was the case in the Georgia game, Armenia relied on one leading scorer with Seda Gabrielyan scoring 19 points as the lone double-digit scorer. She made it a double-double with 10 rebounds, six assists, and seven steals.

It was a one-sided first quarter which became the difference-maker as Malta’s women scored 24 points and conceded just four in the entire opening rubber. Giovanni Gebbia’s side then continued to maintain their lead for the rest of the game with double-digit scores in every quarter and when the pressure was on Armenia to comeback from a 12-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter, they buckled as Malta put up another 15 points to secure the game.

Statistically, it was another show of force from inside the paint for Malta with more than half of their points coming from close range, and yet again they dominated on fast breaks. Unlike their turnover troubles against Georgia, Malta’s players improved their handling and massively reduced their turnovers, going as far as leading in steals and making 27 points from Armenia’s turnovers.

They now face a Gibraltar side that will be desperate for a win this afternoon against Georgia after both sides lost their opening fixture, Gibraltar even starting off with a scathing 99-36 defeat against the Armenians. Eventually, they play their semifinal fixture on Saturday.

MALTA

G. Carabott 2, Shanice Farrugia 11, S. Fenech Pace 14, P. Riolo 2, S. Sciberras 14, E. Abela, V. Baldacchino 19, A. De Martino, R. Fenech Pace, Y. Ferrando, J. Formosa, J. Said.

ARMENIA

M. Assadour, A. Barsam, S. Derderian, S. Gabrielyan, L. Gevorkova, J. Gasparyan, A. Hawanjian, G. Keklikian, E. Khachatryan, E. Shabani, M. Voskanyan.

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