The Spanish women’s basketball team is in Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games after an epic comeback against Hungary, which they beat 73-72 after trailing by 22 points in the third quarter.
Although before playing in Spain, it was already classified as Japan’s victory over Canada (82-86), what Miguel Méndez wants is to confirm your ticket to a legendary victory in this pre-Olympic, ending with two wins (against Canada and Hungary) and the inaugural loss against Japan.
Spain started well, but the Hungarians, forced to win to avoid missing out on the Games, made every effort to move. Therefore, after the first quarter, the hosts were ahead of the Spanish (19-24).
But the second quarter is a real blow for Spain without knowing what the reaction would be and seeing how Hungary, little by little, opened a gap. Espanyol only managed to score 8 points in this quarter, compared to 22 scored by Hungary. An unbalanced annotation means the Spanish team trailed by 19 at halftime (27-46).
Spain needs a win to change the score against Hungary, who, remember, must win to qualify. They managed to increase their advantage to 22 points, but the reaction of the Spaniards began. It was not enough to overcome the great advantage that the opponent had, but they scored 23 points, compared to 18 for the Hungarians, which means that the end of the third quarter was reached with a score of 50-64. The Hungarians’ cushion was reduced by five points.
Heroic reaction in the last quarter
In addition, Spain started to score 5 points in a row in the last quarter and forced Hungary’s coach to call a timeout, but the team continued to fuel until they came within 1 point (63-64). Nerves took their loss to the Hungarians, who conceded a run of 13-0, but they woke up in time and managed to lead by 6 with 5 minutes left.
With that disadvantage, Spain faced the last minute and a half and managed to reduce it to just one point (71–72) in the last minute.
Mariona Ortiz, with two free throws, put Spain ahead on the scoreboard with 52 seconds left in the game.
It was like this until the final moments, where a block by Mariona sealed the victory and left Hungary in the games.
Japan gave the ticket to Spain before playing
It was an even match from start to finish, with Japan leading most of the time but without finishing getting on the scoreboard, with Canada always “making the rubber.”. But in the end, the Japanese victory (82-86) made the last minutes better, giving Spain a place in the Paris Games, according to reports that the first two days of this pre-Olympic tournament were held.
So, Friday’s win over Canada, with a triple by Maite Cazorla and a basket by Cristina Ouviña as the decisive action in the last half, revealed itself as the passport to Paris.
A triple by Maite Cazorla and two points by Cristina Ouviña scored Spain’s victory over Canada
Even if Spain loses this afternoon against Hungary, it will secure an Olympic place ahead of the Canadians by surpassing them on average, especially winning their direct confrontation.
In this pre-Olympic qualifying, the first three qualified teams of four in this group will get a place in the Games.