|2010 FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year Nika Baric and Slovenia had a successful start in the Qualification Round|
Slovenia scraped a 63-59 win at Belgium on Wednesday night with Maja Erkic scoring 19 points in the Qualification Round game for the EuroBasket Women 2013.
Belgium had an early four-point lead but Slovenia asserted themselves in the second quarter and went on top, 33-20.
An Erkic jumper on a fast break put them in front by 13 with 2:58 remaining in the half.
But Belgium finished the opening half strong with two free-throws by young center Emma Meesseman, the 2011 FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year, cutting the deficit to 35-28 before the break.
Slovenia stayed comfortably ahead in the third quarter but Belgium made a run in the fourth that almost saw them steal the victory.
A Meesseman jumper cut the deficit to 54-47 and Jasmina Rosseel followed with a three-ball.
Slovenia kept their noses in front but only just, as baskets by Anne-Sophie Strubbe and Meesseman cut the Slovenia lead to 60-58 with 1:10 remaining.
The hosts had a chance to get even closer when Slovenia committed a foul but Strubbe turned the ball over and Belgium fouled Tina Trebec.
She went to the line to sink two free-throws with 17 seconds remaining for a four-point advantage.
Slovenia then fouled Emmanuella Mayombo of Belgium but she made only one of two at the line with 10 seconds to play.
Forced to foul, Belgium sent Erkic to the stripe and she sank one of two opportunities.
Strubbe's attempt from behind the arc shortly after was off target as Slovenia held on for a valuable win on the road.
Meesseman finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in defeat.
Slovenia player Sandra Pirsic:
"A tough game. Belgium played fast, but we had the control and deserved the victory. This is important for the next games."
Belgium coach Benny Mertens:
"We missed the start of the game. Too bad, because we still had opportunities after a long chase. We kept Slovenia on 62 points and that's important. Now our focus is on offense for the next game."
Belgium player Emma Meesseman:
"This is unfortunate. Turnovers killed us in the first and second quarter. We showed character and that offers perspectives."