Angela Salvadores led the charge for Spain with a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double
A pulsating game saw defending champions Spain pushed all the way by Croatia before triumphing 62-58 in the opening match of Group A in the U16 European Championship Women.
The teams traded blows throughout an exhilarating first half, with Cecilia Muhate imposing herself early for the Spanish team and grabbing three steals. On the other side Ivana Dojkic was impressive inside and out as she shot 8-of-11 in scoring 19 first-half points.
Spain turned up the intensity and increased their ball movement in the third quarter, leading to easier looks inside as they threatened to pull away. But Iva Slonjsak hit a huge three-pointer as Croatia closed the quarter with a 7-1 burst to cut the lead to one.
The teams were locked together during the fourth quarter, and Anita Kelava scored two free throws to give Croatia a 58-56 lead.
Angela Salvadores hit a free throw to set up the frenetic finale, where Salvadores drove and kicked to Maria Conde to nail a huge three-pointer and put her team ahead 60-58 with 11.8 seconds left. Slonjsak's jump-shot rimmed out and Spain held on.
Salvadores' vital assist added to her brilliant 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Muhate also finished with a double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds). Dojkic finished with 26 points for her team, who will take heart from pushing the Spanish team so close.