Croatia Ends Seven Years Of Hurt

27 July 2012

4. Ana-Marija Begic (Croatia)
Croatia centers Ana-Marija Begic and Ivana Tikvic both posted doubles-doubles in points and rebounds

You have to turn the clock back seven years for the last time Croatia won at the U18 European Championship Women Division A, but their lengthy barren streak is finally over after they wrapped up a convincing 67-41 win against the Czech Republic.

London Olympics-bound Marija Vrsaljko, Antonija Misura, Emanuela Salopek and Luca Ivankovic were all in the team who stepped out to claim a success way back in 2005 and now, the current crop of players can also reflect on a top-flight win.

Having been promoted last summer, the Croatian team initially found life tough against the Netherlands on day one in Group C but they generally played very well against a Czech team who now find themselves under pressure after two straight defeats.

Croatia was led superbly in the paint by Ivana Tikvic and Ana Marija-Begic who both stood out for their respective performances, Czech Republic finding them too hot to handle under the hoop.

Once the Croatian team moved 22-11 ahead early in the second quarter through a score by Iva Cigic, they kept their opponent very much at arms-length to coast to an important victory.

Perhaps the only concern for Croatian head coach Zeljko Ciglar is his team's propensity for turning the ball over.

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