Epic Croatia Knock Out Spain

26.06.2011

EuroBasket Women 2011

Turning Point: Having trailed 61-54 with less than seven minutes remaining, Croatia scored 14 unanswered points to take a 68-61 lead with one minute remaining.

Game Heroes: Croatia´s Jelena Ivezic scored seven points in that crucial run and finished with 15. Croatia captain Sandra Mandir had a game-high 24 points on nine-for-13 (69%) shooting.

Stats Don't Lie: Spain´s Alba Torrens was zero-for-13 from the floor and finished with two points. Croatia made nine of their 22 (41%) attempts from behind the arc while Spain were two-for-17 (12%). Spain were out-rebounded 45-38, with Croatia´s Mirna Mazic pulling down 15 rebounds.



Croatia shot down Spain and reached the Quarter-Finals of the EuroBasket Women on Sunday in Katowice.

In a do-or-die Group F battle for a spot in the last eight, Croatia upset the Eurobasket Women 2009 bronze medallists , a nation that had reached the podium in every European Championship since 2001.

Just last year, Spain captured the bronze medal at the FIBA World Championship for Women.

Croatia have turned a EuroBasket Women nightmare into a dream they will now not want to wake up from.

Annihilated 86-40 by France in their opening game, Croatia progressed to Round 2 by virtue of their last-second win over Greece in their next Group D game and they also dug deep to beat EuroBasket Women hosts Poland in Group F on Friday.

Now with a refuse-to-lose mentality, they have surprised Spain, one of the powerhouses in the women's game.

Mandir finished with a game-high 24 points, hitting three of five shots from three-point range.

Croatia hit nine of 22 shots from the arc overall, the most important coming after Spain had taken a 61-54 lead with 6:29 remaining.

Jelena Ivezic went to the other end and drilled a shot from the arc to spark a 14-0 run that Ana Sliskovic capped by splitting a pair of free-throws.

Laia Palau, who had 19 points and a game-high four steals, tried to rescue the team at the end.

She penetrated and kicked the ball out to Elisa Aguilar, who launched a three-pointer a full meter behind the line and made it.

But after Mandir and Palau each made a pair of free-throws, Aguilar stole the inbounds pass from Ivezic and tried to hit a three from the right corner but missed.

Croatia kept their noses in front and celebrated one of the most famous wins in their basketball history.

Mirna Mazic was terrific for Croatia, pulling down a tournament-high 15 rebounds (tied with Zane Tamane of Latvia) and scoring four points.

Ivezic had 15 points and eight boards.

Defeat was not only hard on Palau but also Lucila Pascua, the veteran center who had 17 points and eight rebounds.

Spain played again without Amaya Valdemoro, who hadn't featured since the team's tournament-opening win over Germany because of a calf injury.

Alba Torrens, Spain's 21-year-old hotshot, missed all 13 of her shots from the field and scored just two points.

 


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