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Spain - EuroBasket Women 2013 champions
30/06/2013
ESP/FRA - Spain edge out France for EuroBasket Women crown, Lyttle named MVP

ORCHIES (EuroBasket Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Sancho Lyttle loves the game so much, that in the immediate aftermath of being crowned the MVP of EuroBasket Women 2013, her first thought was confirming when her first game back in the WNBA would be.

The forward walked away not only with her coveted personal accolade - having averaged a tournament double-double of 18.4 points and 11.1 rebounds per game - but also clutching a gold medal.

It was won in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Spain climbed back to the top of the podium for the first time in two decades after a gripping and indescribably tense 70-69 win against host nation France.

"It can get tiring playing all year round and having to go between the States and Europe," reflected Lyttle.

"The guys told me that we needed to finish in at least fifth place to qualify for the FIBA World Championship for Women, but I told them right from the start, that I was only coming to win gold.

"I thank my team-mates because without them, you wouldn't win any awards,

"I am lost for words - it was such a tough game to play."

It can't have been easy for the home fans to watch either. It seemed like destiny that the home side would prevail in front of 5,000 fans in Orchies.

Even after their slow start when they struggled to contain Alba Torrens, the tide seemed to be turning back their way heading into crunch time.

Sandrine Gruda really brought her 'A-game' finishing with 25 points - only her final score on the buzzer needed to be a triple in order to force overtime.

Reliant upon taking care of the ball, France were left ruffled by the aggressive Spanish defense and committed an eye-watering 18 turnovers.

Celine Dumerc summarised the despair after the final buzzer.

"This was the very worst way to lose a game," she bemoaned.

"We could not have imagined a bigger nightmare than to lose the Final to Spain by one point in front of our fans."

Spain spoiled the party in a big way but will enjoy their own as they wave goodbye to veteran pair Amaya Valdemoro and Elisa Aguilar.

Unfortunately for Edwige Lawson-Wade and Emmeline Ndongue, it wasn't the kind of ending to their national team career they had been hoping for.

There was some consolation for Dumerc and Les Bleues colleague Isabelle Yacoubou who were handed a spot in the All-Tournament Team, along with Torrens and Frida Eldebrink of Sweden.

FIBA

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