NetScouts Basketball is in Croatia for the Division “A” U18 European Women Championships. We’ll also be in Hungary for the U18 Division “B” event this week. In Croatia, all the favorites went undefeated in their group.
In Group A the Netherlands is on top with three straight wins. Turkey is in second place with the Czech Republic third. Last place Belarus risks a delegation to Division B.
The Netherlands has very strong guards in Klaziena Guijt, a small scoring guard averaging 15 points per game and the top three-point shooter this far. Point guard Laura Cornelius has averaged 12 points and is best in assists with 5.7 assists per game. The most complete player for the Netherlands is Isabella Slim (10.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and the leader in steals with 4.7 per game. Slim is headed to Syracuse University in a few weeks.
Kiuliak Viyaleta (1996) of Belarus is the second leading rebounder of the event (12.7 pg) but her team has not won a game.
In Group B, Spain, one of the tournament favorites, is undefeated, outscoring their opponents by a 243-143 margin. Russia is in second place, Croatia third while England will play in the relegation round.
Spain plays very aggressively both on offense and defense , generating many points in transition. Point guard Leticia Romero is averaging 14.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4 assists per game. An excellent team leader, she will play at Kansas State in the fall. Ariadna Pujol, a strong, physical forward is averaging 13.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Center Lo Nogaye (1996) of African descent, has a great capacity for intimidation in defense.
Russia has an excellent power forward in Polina Fedorova, averaging 11.7 points and 7 rebounds per game.
In Group C, Serbia is the undefeated team, followed by Sweden and Greece with Portugal in last place.
Serbia is a team with a lot of character which has won three difficult matches, behind Aleksandra Crvendakic (1996) a power forward who is the top rebounder (13.0 pg) in addition to averaging 16.7 points and 5.7 assists. They also have talented guard Sanja Mandic (15.3 ppg) and 6’4″ center Dragana Stankovic, the best shot blocker in the first phase with 3.7 blocks per game. For Greece, Anna Stamolamprou is a very quick point guard and the leading scorer in the tournament with 17.3 points per game.
In Group D. France is undefeated and playing the best European defense with 131 points allowed in three games while scoring 191 points. Italy is second, Slovenia third with the Slovak Republic winless and will fight to avoid relegation to Division “B”.
France is the most talented, physical team of the event. One example is their forward Ondaye Elenga (7.3 pg, 8.0 rpg) who is very strong, with good jumping ability. Their 6’3″center Marie Milapie has great potential. Slovenia has Eve Lisec, a 6’4″ center averaging 15.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
Now the second phase begins with two groups of six teams fighting to reach the quarterfinals. And one group of four teams fighting to avoid relegation to Division “B”.