12 months after making the semi-finals of the U18 European Championship Women for the very first time, the Netherlands booked consecutive appearances in the last four of the competition with a 68-55 win against Italy.
The Dutch avoided a third straight loss in Vukovar by returning to winning ways in real style and when it truly mattered as playmaker Laura Cornelius took over to sink 26 points in a game-winning performance.
In addition to the headline contribution from Cornelius, the victory was made possible thanks mainly to a sizzling 15 minutes spanning either side of the half-time break as the Italians went into complete meltdown offensively.
They were outscored 21-2 during a nightmare passage of play during the third period – a far cry from the early part of the game.
With the contest tightly locked at 19, the Netherlands began to convert from behind the three-point line and pick up their defence.
They held Italy to just six points in just under fourteen minutes, whilst it rained three-pointers down the other end of the floor.
Klaziena Guijt drilled a triple between two from Cornelius, as the Dutch raced clear at 48-25 whilst the Italian scoring drought intensified.
After what seemed like an eternity, Italy finally re-discovered what it felt like to put the ball through the hoop. Pressing more aggressively on defence, they finished the third period with a rousing 10-0 run to give themselves a lifeline.
But, the Dutch wobble did not last and they safely manoeuvred their way to the final buzzer to celebrate a fine success.
Isabella Slim produced an influential line for the Netherlands with 14 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
Cecilia Zandalasini had 19 points in defeat.
Bron: FIBA Europe