Strong Second Half Gives Croatia Victory

05 September 2006

Croatia rode a strong second half to open their EuroBasket Women qualifying campaign with a win against Sweden.

Looking to get back to the EuroBasket Women final round for the first time since 1999, Croatia used a 20-5 third quarter run to take control of a previously close contest against the Swedes.

The game was all square, 34-34, at the half, before inside players Emilija Podrug and Petra Stampalija and guard Sandra Popovic too over in the third quarter.

The trio combined for all of Croatia's 24 points in the quarter and guided their team to a 58-46 lead at the 30-minute mark.

Agnieszka Jablonska reeled off four quick points for Sweden at the start of the final period, but Croatia quickly quelled any thoughts of a comeback and cruised to victory.

Stampalija finished with 16 points for Croatia, while Popovic had 15 and Podrug 14 and 12 rebounds. Ana Lelas contributed 16 off the bench for Croatia who play Poland in their next qualifier.

Nina Bärlin had 16 points for Sweden, who face Germany on Saturday.

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