Late surge as Malta come back in fourth quarter
(19-18, 21-15, 1-14, 27-13)
Malta made it to this year’s FIBA women’s Under-18 Division C European Championships when they beat Armenia 68-60 in the semifinal on Saturday.
It was a comeback to remember for Giovanni Gebbia’s clan as they suffered an agonising third quarter, scoring just one point, but came back to trump Armenia in the fourth and secure passage to the gold medal game.
They now face the winner of the other semifinal between Albania and Andorra on Sunday (tip-off: 6pm).
Danika Galea was Malta’s and the game’s top scorer yet again with 29 points and 24 rebounds for another impressive double-double. Anna Fenech Pace was closest with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Lia Krumian was Armenia’s top scorer with 20 points. Seda Gabrielyan followed with 12 points and eight rebounds, and Natalya Nersisyan rounded the double-digit scorers with 10.
It was neck and neck in the opening stages as both sides responded to each other’s advances. However, it was Malta who edged Armenia with just a point by the first buzzer.
This boosted Malta’s energy and despite the second quarter following the same structure, the Malta players began to open a gap, and finished ahead by six at halftime.
The halftime break was no help to the Malta clan as they had a troubling third quarter as they were held to just one point throughout the rubber. Armenia on the other hand, had their best run of 14 straight points.
Such a dismal quarter could have damped Malta’s spirits and given Armenia the game as they were now six points down at 47-41 at the start of the fourth. Instead, Malta began to pile up the points again and fired in 27 points for the best scoring quarter of the game and showed their mettle in order to book their place in the final.
S. Sciberras, L. Fenech Pace 9, A. Fenech Pace 10, M. Fenech 6, A. Saliba 4, M. Marmara 4, S. Fenech Pace 6, D. Galea 29.
L. Krumian 20, Z. Khachatryan, A. Oneil 8, K. Saakyan 2, H. Sargsyan, A. Mkrtchyan, S. Gabrielyan 12, N. Nersisyan 10, S. Khachatryan.
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