France point guard Olivia Epoupa with the Tournament MVP trophy
French point guard Olivia Epoupa had a double reason to celebrate at the U18 European Championship Women after being crowned tournament MVP, an award that will go nicely with her gold medal.
Rather fittingly, Epoupa was the difference-maker for France in the final with a double-double so characteristic of her all-round influence on the winning team.
It was also the second time in her fledgling career that she took the MVP award of a tournament, having also been handed the accolade at the U16 European Championship Women two years ago, in Greece.
That particular year, Russia beat France in the semi-finals so this award is likely to taste a whole lot sweeter with a medal also around her neck.
Whilst she didn't have her greatest shooting numbers, Epoupa saved her best scoring display for when it truly mattered and finished the tournament with 8.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
The head coaches present in Bucharest voted on the MVP as well as the All Tournament Team, which included the following players in addition to Epoupa.
Aleksandra Stanacev (Serbia): The guard was wonderfully influential for her team, pulling the strings which put Serbia on the verge of their first final appearance in five years. She finished the tournament as joint leader (with Epoupa) in assists with 4.6 per game, in addition to 14.0 points every time she took to the floor.
Alexandra Marchenkova (Russia): The do-it-all small forward was excellent throughout the competition and even if she didn't get the huge numbers of other players, she was not only highly efficient, but also a true game-winner. Even if it wasn't quite enough to clinch gold, she showed her skills with 10.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.
Kourtney Treffers (Netherlands): While it took a little time for Treffers to warm-up after an understated first round, her undoubted quality shone through in the paint for Netherlands as she helped them to fourth place and a spot at the U19 World Championship Women next year in Lithuania. Treffers impressed the coaches in the Romanian capital with 12.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.
Albina Razheva (Russia): The center had to settle for a silver medal after Russia lost to France in the Final but her spirits were lifted a little when she was handed a place in the All Tournament team, after finishing her campaign in Bucharest with 12.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Hosts Romania were presented with the Fair Play Award for their extraordinary sportsmanship throughout the competition.