Italy lingered during the first quarter but finally beat Croatia, 61-46, in their first match of the U16 European Championship Women Qualifying Round.
In a very balanced game at the beginning, the Croatian outside shooters gave the advantage to their side, while Italy struggled to surpass their opponents' defence.
The Italians had to use their physical power to impose their game, scoring almost all of their points inside the paint during the first 15 minutes.
When Cecilia Zandalasini, who finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, finally showed up, the Croatian resistance went down, with the Italians cruising during the third quarter to reach a 17 point lead.
Croatia still tried to react in the last minutes, but it was too late to come back in this match.
Point guard Sofia Vespignani scored 16 points, while Antonija Bozic was the Croatian most remarkable performer, scoring 15 points in less than 16 minutes.
Italy will face France on Tuesday, while Croatia will look for their first win in the Qualifying Round, playing against Spain.