|Getting it done: Jelena Ivezic and her Croatian teammates stepped up when it mattered, easing home over Lithuania|
By Joe Hewison
Turning Point: Croatia had held the lead for less than three minutes of the game prior to the final quarter but took control with a 15-4 run to open the period.
Stats Don't Lie: Croatia got 25 of their points from fast breaks, 18 more than Lithuania.
Game Hero: Not only did Iva Sliskovic top score with 19 points, the forward/center also stood up well to Lithuania's powerful frontcourt, which dominated in the early stages.
Speed was the key for Croatia as they bounced back from a slow start to beat Lithuania 89-77 in their first game of EuroBasket Women 2013.
Lithuania raced into an early lead off the back of an 11-0 run that owed much to the dominance of their powerful play in the frontcourt.
But Croatia stepped up their game in the second quarter as coach Stipe Bralic called for more aggression on defence and they were rewarded with a host of easy baskets on the fast break.
Croatia eventually took the lead late in the third quarter and went into the final period with a 68-64 advantage before a 15-4 surge secured the result and a fine start to their campaign.
Bralic said: "In the first quarter we played very bad defence but in the other quarters we played more aggressive defence and played faster in offence.
"We had fast passes and we want very short offences.
"Our pick-and-roll game was a problem for them and I think we played very well in the last 15 minutes. We must play aggressive defence all game, not just in three quarters."
Although far from satisfied, Bralic will also be encouraged by the individual performance of Iva Sliskovic, who did well to counter Lithuania's bigger players while also contributing 19 points.
Lithuania Head Coach Algirdas Paulauskas
"We were really prepared for this game. It showed we were doing really well and executing our plan to begin with. Our young players didn't handle the pressure of the game and the big event and were maybe scared of winning and we gave away the game."
Lithuania player Kristina Vengryte
"It's a real pity. We were off to good start but we were not really consistent and I think the Croatian team was better than us and deserved to win in the end."
Croatia Head Coach Stipe Bralic
"Lithuania played better than us in the first quarter, they have a very strong team because they have four or five post players who hare very good runners and good three-point shooters too."
Croatia player Iva Ciglar
"We started pretty badly but once we got into our rhythm and did what coach asked us to do, we started to play as a team and it was better."