|Marta Fernandez was one of five Avenida players to score in double digits, contributing 14 points|
A turbulent season for former champions Perfumerias Avenida took a decidedly upward turn after they completed their mission to make the play-offs with a convincing 86-68 Group C win at Novi Zagreb.
With the hard work having been done by way of a somewhat surprise home success against the previously undefeated UMMC Ekaterinburg a week earlier, Avenida knew they needed to follow it up positively in Croatia to progress.
And, head coach Victor Lapena and his players achieved their aim in style with a rousing victory, built on a 25-15 first quarter which proved the foundation for the win.
Their nerves were settled at the beginning of the second quarter when they began the period with a 7-2 run, a triple by Egle Sulciute getting them underway and helping them into a 32-17 lead.
However, there was a major wobble approaching the interval, as the home side came alive and registered a 12-1 run to reduce the arrears at 42-37.
It was important Avenida regained their superiority in the third period and wrestled the initiative back from Zagreb and they did this with real vigour, Marija Rezan re-establishing the all-important double-digit lead.
Once they had moved 60-44 in front, the result never looked to be in doubt, and so it proved as the Spanish side booked their play-off spot.
Playing back in her homeland, Rezan was impressive for Avenida with 10 points from five-of-seven shooting in addition to seven rebounds.
Latoya Williams and Mirna Mazic both achieved double-doubles for Zagreb who finished bottom of the group.
Novi Zagreb head coach Vladimir Ivankovic
"We played as well as we were able to at this moment. Avenida is in great shape. Congratulations to them."
Novi Zagreb player Inja Butina
"We played a great game even though we shot terribly. Only 30%. We gave our best but it wasn't enough. They are physically stronger."
Avenida head coach Victor Lapena
"Our mission was to win. We took Novi Zagreb seriously, we fought to the end and the end result was in our favour. We are very happy at this moment since the situation was very bad a few weeks ago. We are going further. Thanks to Novi Zagreb. We had a fantastic time in Zagreb."
Avenida player Marija Rezan
"The smile says it all. We are very happy. We have a new coach and we beat Ekaterinburg at home. It was a great game. We have great support at home and lots of people come to our games. The atmosphere is awesome. It's a big success for us to go further, to the second round. We are very happy."