History In The Making As Croatia Move Into Final

21 August 2010

Croatia wrote history in the U16 European Championship Women 2010, Saturday as they defeated neighbours Serbia 64-51 to reach a title game for the first time ever in a women's Youth event. 

The triumph left coach Zeljko Ciglar almost speechless.

"This feels like being on Mount Everest. It was a very, very good game that we played today. I am so happy for my girls. I don't know what to say."

Croatia dominated the paint and sank 15 of their 20 free throws to land a historic win. Serbia fought bravely but they could not stop their opponents.

Natasa Kovacevic scored 18 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in a losing effort. Croatia, Ana-Marija Begic and Ruzica Dzankic both tabbed a double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds each.

Both teams played with a lot of passion and after an evenly matched start Croatia closed out strong the first quarter to claim an 18-8 lead.

Serbia committed too many turnovers in the first half giving Croatia 13 extra field goal attempts. Despite their low shooting percentage that was sufficient to help them lead at halftime (29-20).

Shortly after the intermission Croatia scored eight unanswered points to widen the gap to 37-20. It was only the start to a 13-2 run that bolstered their lead to twenty points. Serbia's leading scorer Kovacevic was very active in this period but her team were still trailing by 14 points as the game entered the final quarter.

With Serbia's final hopes fading with each minute, Croatia's outlook just got better and better. Five minutes before the final buzzer they still led by 15 points (55-40) and they made sure to not give away their ticket into the final.

"We already havee a silver medal in our pockets. Never before had a Croatian Women's team have won a silver medal!" Ciglar added.



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