|11||J. GOMIS||Did not play|
|12||M. LABORDE||Did not play|
|4||L. NICHOLLS||Did not play|
|8||L. PASCUA||Did not play|
|Min||Minutes played||Tot||Total rebounds||BS||Block Shots|
|%||Shooting percentage||PF||Personal fouls||*||Starters|
KARLOVY VARY (2010 FIBA World Championship for Women) - Spain snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on Friday night against France to set up a Semi-Final showdown with the United States at the FIBA World Championship for Women.
Trailing 61-52 after a Jennifer Digbeu three-pointer for the French, the Spanish battled back to force overtime and then won 74-71.
Amaya Valdemoro, the 34-year-old veteran Spanish great, led the winners with 28 points – two of them coming on a lay-up with one second remaining in regulation to send the game to the extra period.
France, who had led at one stage by 15 points, suffered a painful defeat.
"We made history,” Valdemoro said, referring to the first time that Spain’s women have reached the last four of a FIBA World Championship.
“We are really excited about this.”
"We thought many times that this game was lost,” Spain coach Jose Ignacio Hernandez said.
“For many minutes, France shut down our strengths.
“The important thing is that my team never lost faith, even when we were down by 15.
“I think in the end we were lucky.
“Just when we were about to die did we start to play our game.”
Spain lost center Sancho Lyttle, arguably their best player this summer, in the second half to an apparent injury yet they survived.
The final 23 seconds of regulation will haunt France for a long time.
Leading 64-58, France allowed Valdemoro space to shoot and bury a three-ball to halve the deficit.
Spain fouled Celine Dumerc and put the point guard on the free-throw line and she missed both attempts.
The French then fouled Valdemoro 10 seconds from the end to prevent her from launching a shot from the arc and she sank both from the charity stripe to make it 64-63.
Spain allowed just two seconds to go off the clock before they fouled Endene Miyem and the Bourges star made the first but missed the second, with Alba Torrens of Spain taking the rebound.
She brought the ball to half-court before handing it to Valdemoro, who drove past Emmeline Ndongue with just a second left to send the game to overtime.
“We went for suicide in overtime by playing with five small,” Hernandez said.
“It was a risk and it paid off.”
Spain went in front by four in the extra period but France came back and four Ndongue free-throws gave them a 71-69 advantage.
After Cindy Lima cut the deficit to one by splitting a pair at the stripe, Miyem missed from long range and Laia Palau went to the other end to create Spain’s next basket.
Palau penetrated into the lane and drew the defense to her before delivering a perfect bounce pass to Lima, who laid the ball off the glass and in for a 72-71 Spanish advantage with 38 seconds to play.
The French were called for a shot-clock violation and after a timeout had to foul Anna Montanana, who connected on both shots from the line for a 74-71 lead just six seconds from the end.
France coach Pierre Vincent called a timeout and drew up a play that Les Bleues nearly executed to perfection.
They passed the ball into play from midcourt and worked it around the perimeter before a crosscourt toss found a wide open Digbeu in the left corner.
The 23-year-old was off target and time expired.
“France deserved to win for 35 minutes but sometimes basketball is not fair,” Hernandez said.
“It's true that France may have deserved not to lose tonight but Spain didn't deserve a loss considering what we had done throughout the tournament.
"The players and the federation have been working to achieve this aim for four years. This is a great achievement.
"It's for five consecutive EuroBaskets that we have taken medals and it's very important for Spanish basketball to be in the final four.
“The medal is a dream, we will try to fight for it."
Now Spain must face the USA in the last four.
“We know the USA are better than us,” Valdemoro said.
“But we will fight for every ball and do our best and try to beat them.
“Right now, we are going to enjoy this victory and tomorrow we are going to have fun and enjoy.
“Who knows when Spain will next be playing in the semi-final of a FIBA World Championship?”
Vincent had to accept this his team wasn’t able to put the Spanish away.
"We played a good way all the time but you have to finish the game,” he said.
You can see Spain's Semi Final showdown with Team USA, plus plenty of interviews and features, live on FIBATV.com.