Croatia became the first team through to this summer’s Olympic Games in London through the qualifiers as they edged out Canada 59-56 in Ankara.
For Canada, who feel as though they should have won this game, can still advance to the Olympics, but will need to win their next two games in order to do so. They restricted Croatia to just eight points in the third quarter and led going into the final period. But the Croats came back when it mattered to pick up the win.
Jelena Ivezic led Croatia with 12 points as she played all but one minute of the game. Center Marija Vrsaljko hit 10 points as well for the victors.
Courtnay Pilypaitis was the only Canadian player to reach double figures, as she hit 11 points and grabbed five rebounds. The scoring was well spread on their part, but it wasn’t enough.
After a tight first quarter, Croatia led 17-16 but as Canada tried to find their gears, the European side raced ahead at the half, as they found themsleves up 31-26 at half-time.
Whatever Canada coach Allison McNeill said at half-time worked wonders as her side zoomed to a 46-39 third quarter lead as Croatia collapsed. But the Croats came back strong in the final period to book their ticket to London.