June, 25th – Croatia defeated Mozambique 84-62 at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament Group C game in the Turkish capital, Ankara.
France’s Ana Lelas led her side with 20 points and 4 steals, seconded by Sandra Mandir with 16. Mozambique were led by Clarisse Machanguana who led all scorers with an impressive double-double of 23 points and 13 boards.
As expected, Croatia started well this game creating a 10 point run mostly on provoked turnovers giving them easy fast breaks to finish the first quarter with a 27-12 lead sending a message to their rivals that they are here to grab one spot for the Olympics.
In the second quarter, Mozambique tightened up in the defensive end and Croatia began rotating their starters which led to a better period for the African team (15-13). At the half time, Croatia had a comfortable 42-25 lead with Lelas and Ivezic (both with 11 points) and the point guard Ciglar being the best players on the floor.
Mozambique ran to a 7-0 run in the first minute of third quarter, cutting the lead to only 10 leading to a timeout by the Croatian head coach. After the stoppage, Croatia answered with 2 quick three pointers (the only 2 in 10 tried on the 3rd quarter). Machanguana, the only Mozambican player playing in Europe had a brilliant quarter to help Mozambique going to the fourth quarter only losing by 12 (57-42).
In the last quarter, Croatia controlled the game never letting Mozambique decrease their 12 point advantage and with good outside shooting and good offense finished the game with a 22 point lead, with an 84-62 final result.
Mozambique poor 3 point shooting day (3-17) was one of the factors that contributed for this loss especially since they were playing against a team that is favourite to qualify like the experienced Croatians.
The Croatian team rests tomorrow and will compete against Korea on Wednesday, June 27th at 14.30 (local time) while Mozambique will have back-to-back games since they play tomorrow against Korea at 14.30 (local time).