EUROBASKET WOMEN QUALIFIERS
|Gabriela Marginean was the driving force in Romania's victory over Sweden, scoring 26 points.|
Gabriela Marginean made sure Romania had a dream start to their EuroBasket Women Qualification Round campaign by pouring in a game-high 26 points in a 66-59 victory over Sweden.
The 25-year-old forward played nearly 37 minutes of the Group D encounter and was indispensable, making seven of 14 shots from the floor and 10 of 12 at the free-throw line.
Sweden edged into a 37-33 advantage by half-time with Frida Eldebrink pouring in 14 of her team-high 22 points but Marginean gave Romania a perfect start to the third quarter.
She nailed a three-ball that ignited a 9-0 run and gave the hosts a 42-37 lead.
Marginean had seven of the points in that spurt.
The Swedes are supposed to be a growing force in Europe and they continued to battle.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Danielle Hamilton split a pair of free-throws and Agnes Nordström followed with a three-pointer for a 51-49 Sweden lead.
The visitors had no answer for Marginean, though.
She scored five of her team's next seven points as they went on top, 56-51 with 4:20 to go.
The closest Sweden would get the rest of the way came with 1:12 to play after Eldebrink was fouled by Annemarie Parau.
The Swede sank just one of two attempts to close the gap to 59-56.
Parau, a 1.70m guard, went to the other end and connected from behind the arc for a six-point advantage with 46 seconds to play.
Victory was assured when Marginean immediately intercepted a pass by Eldebrink, drew a foul and sank two free-throws.