Maltese girls beat Albania in final

Maltese girls beat Albania in final

The Malta Basketball Association had good cause for celebration yesterday after the women's national team won the FIBA Europe Division C in Luxembourg.

Last night, Santino Coppa's girls produced a remarkable display when they outclassed Albania 81-61 in the final to win the competition for the first time.

Earlier last week, Malta had beaten Albania 80-55 in the group stages and yesterday they were determined to make it a double.

The Maltese girls made a flying start, building a 14-2 lead inside the opening three minutes with Loretta Ellul nailing three three-pointers.

Albania were clearly finding it hard to contain the Maltese team who started the second session 33-15 ahead.

Malta's comfortable advantage prompted Coppa to effect several changes in a bid to keep his players as fresh as possible ahead of the final two quarters of the match.

Despite the changes, Malta managed to limit the damage to head for the interval 44-30 ahead.

At the restart the Maltese soon regained control and inspired by the excellent display of Roberta Brincat-Thoresen, who scored 33 points, they neutralized Albania's hopes for a fightback to start the final 10 minutes 14 points ahead, 62-48.

The final session saw the Maltese press on the accelerator and they never let Albania get back into the match to seal a famous victory.

Other results: (7th place) Azerbaijan vs Gibraltar 54-39; (5th place) Wales vs Scotland 51-64; (3rd place) Andorra vs Luxembourg 45-55.

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