GROUP ECroatia went where no other team have gone so far at the U16 European Championship Women 2010 by ending Russia's unbeaten run, in a 73-67 triumph.
Croatia's Head Coach Zeljko Ciglar was looking forward to the duel with Russia, who had been rolling in the tournament prior to the game. His team admittedly played with a lot of positive energy and eventually got what they were longing for.
The Russians fought well in a closely contested battle but had to accept defeat in the final minute of the game. Lana Packovski sank four free throws to complete the Croatian triumph.
Packovski left her mark all over the game. Not only did she hit the decisive free throws, she gave her team a huge lift throughout the game. She scored 23 points and dished out five assists.
After an evenly matched first quarter Croatia temporarily ran away with the lead in the second (19-30). Russia took a timeout to talk things over. A 14-2 run before halftime gave the Russians a slim lead at the break (33-32).
In a tough battle in the second half both were neck and neck all the way to the last five minutes of the game. Russia trailed 60-63 and tried to retake the advantage. But Croatia wouldn't allow them another major run.
In a thrilling finish Croatia found a hero in Packovski. Ruzica Dzankic added 17 points and eight rebounds. The Russians once again shared the offensive load. This time however, team work wasn't enough to win.