Croatia Finish First In Group With Win Over Germany

23 September 2006

In a must-win situation, Croatia delivered in a major way.

Despite a less than spectacular offensive performance, Croatia defeated Germany 57-49 to take first place in Group C.

Germany still was able to book a place next year in Europe’s biggest women’s basketball event on the calendar as they finished 4-2.

Both teams struggled offensively throughout the contest.

Germany jumped out to a 10-4 start and led 20-13 after one quarter, but Croatia surged ahead in the second quarter by outscoring Germany 16-6.

Croatia’s defense held Germany to 3-of-12 shooting in the quarter and forced six German turnovers.

Ana Lelas free throws with 31 seconds to go before the half sent Croatia into intermission with a 29-26 lead.

A 9-2 run in the third quarter put Croatia up 42-33.

A three-pointer from Anda Jelavic with 14 seconds to go before the end of the third extended the Croatia lead to 52-37 going into the fourth.

Croatia maintained a double digit lead for most of the fourth quarter.

Germany wouldn’t be able to cut the deficit to single digits until the final minute as Croatia wrapped up the victory.

"We did not find any rhythm today," said German coach Olaf Stolz.

"We finished much too fast and made Croatia strong with that kind of playing basketball."

Still, Stolz was able to take away positives from the contest.

"We played a nice final five minutes," he said.

"This is what we have to remember when we meet again next year to play in EuroBasket. I´m very proud of my team."

For the game, Croatia shot 35 percent, while Germany was a shade better at 36 percent.

Lelas and Jelavic had 11 points to lead Croatia, while Linda Froehlich registered 13 for the Germans.






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