|21 June 2013|
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013
|Antonija Misura is having one of her most influential tournaments yet in a Croatian jumper|
By Joe Hewison
Croatia and Serbia will open the second day of games in Group F with both looking to take a step towards the quarter-finals.
Last Time Out: Serbia pulled off a surprise 54-48 win over Belarus thanks to a fine display of disciplined basketball while Croatia staged a brave fight-back to recover from a slow start and come closer than anybody to worrying France before eventually falling 78-70.
Key Match-Up: As Antonjia Misura's minutes have increased, to 27.8-per-game this competition, so has her positive influence on the game. The 25-year-old is fearless when driving to the basket and uses her explosive first step to get Croatia going, contributing 11.3 points too.
Ana Dabovic, alongside her sister Milica, serves a similar purpose for Serbia. Starting with active hands on defence and finishing with strong drives to the basket, Dabovic's desire and hustle plays are invaluable especially when coupled with her 12.5 points-per-game.
Key Stat: These teams' rebounding averages are almost identical. Croatia are pulling down 35.3 boards through their first four games while Serbia get 35. Serbia Head Coach Marina Maljkovic stressed the importance of this area of play before and after Serbia's win over Belarus and this could prove a pivotal factor once more.
X-Factor: Tempo. Serbia had success slowing down the game against Belarus, denying early passes into the post and keeping the score low. Conversely Croatia have been at their best when they play on the fast break.
From The Camps:
Serbia Head Coach Marina Maljkovic said: "For the whole 40 minutes in the next two games we have to do better: offence and defence.
"Is that going to be good enough to beat such good teams as Croatia and the Czech Republic? I'm not sure but I feel that we have a lot more to show in terms of a complete basketball game."
After the defeat to France, Croatia's Ana Lelas, said: "The fact that we finished this game just eight behind is good for the mentality of our team. I think the most important game is going to be on Friday against Serbia."