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Group:  B | 10.01.2009, 19:00h
Group:  B | 10.01.2009, 19:00h
83-50
21 - 1419 - 1716 - 1027 - 9
21 - 1419 - 1716 - 1027 - 9
Venue: Venezia-Mestre (ITA) |
Spectators: 3000 |
Referees: Roger Harrison (ENG), Gentian Cici (ALB), Matej Spendl (SLO)

GAME REPORT


Awesome Azzurre Blow Out Croatia

Italy claimed a decisive triumph over Croatia on Saturday night in Venice to take the inside track to a place at this year's EuroBasket Women in Latvia.

The Azzurre, fresh off an impressive midweek road victory in Belgium, rolled to an 83-50 win.

If both sides prevail against Belgium again, Croatia will not only have to beat the Italians on January 19 to win Group B.

They will have to do so by 34 points to clinch their head-to-head tie-breaker.

Croatia had sent out a warning that they were not to be taken lightly by hammering Belgium last weekend and Ana Lelas put them in front against Italy early on at 5-2 with a three-pointer.

Giampiero Ticchi's Italian troops were supremely focused, though, and responded by scoring 16 straight points for an 18-5 advantage.

Raffaella Masciadri had five points, and both Simona Ballardini and Kathrin Ress four in that early scoring explosion by the Italians.

Croatia poured in nine consecutive points to trail 18-14, only for the Italians to go in front by 15.

The visitors finished the quarter with an 8-2 spurt and went to the changing rooms behind 40-31.

At the break for Italy, Ress and Giorgia Sottana each had eight points, and Manuela Zanon seven.

The Croatians returned to the floor with a renewed sense of purpose and trimmed the deficit to 43-38 with 5:52 left in the third quarter after Marta Cakic poured in five points in a row.

Ticchi's team held Croatia to just three points for the rest of the frame and scored 13 to take a 56-41 stranglehold on the game.

The home side then blew out the Croatians over the final 10 minutes, outscoring them 27-9.

Umana Reyer Venezia stars Ballardini and Sottana each had 14 points to lead a balanced Italy scoring attack.

Jelena Ivezic was the only Croatian to reach double figures in points with 12.

COACH QUOTES


Quotes Italy vs. Croatia

Stipe Bralic (Croatia Coach):

"Italy deserved to win, congratulations to them because they had a better rhythm than us. Like Belgium we missed a lot of good players, in the second half they played really better than us. We are very disappointed about this result but we couldn't do anything more. Our bench is short and we didn't shoot well from 3 point range. The Italian championship is very competitive, Italian players don't need to go abroad to improve their skills. Our best players do this and also for this reason they can't play this Additional Qualifying Round."  

Giampiero Ticchi (Italy Coach):

"It was important for us to win this game but winning by 33 points was just a dream. Croatia is a dangerous team, they have great shooters. We tried to limit their pick'n'roll, my players were aggressive and solid on this game. It's an important result for us but in Crikvenica we have to be careful because we must go there concentrated. Ballardini is the moral leader of this team, our confidence is growing but is not sufficient yet. In Belgium we didn't play a good game, now I am happy about our defense. But we must win two more games."  

Jenifer Nadalin (Italy):

"Yes, we won but there's still much to do. We haven't done anything yet. There's revenge in me because of my exclusion from the National Team for the 2007 European Championship here in Italy. This team wants to win. We are a strong team and we want to show our force to others. We play like a team. My feeling with Giorgia Sottana has been perfect, our coach Giampiero Ticchi has been smart to use the schemas we usually play with Venice."

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

44.1%

30/68
FG
M/A

27.1%

13/48

50.0%

24/48
FG2P
M/A

22.9%

8/35

30.0%

6/20
FG3P
M/A

38.5%

5/13

77.3%

17/22
FT
M/A

76.0%

19/25

44

12/32
RT
RO/RD

38

10/28

12

AS

2

14

TO

23

10

ST

4

2

BS

1

25

PF

23

83

Pts

50

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