G Jelena Ivezic, Croatia (photo by FIBA Europe)
Before 2011 EuroBasket for Women many questioned Croatian head coach Stipe Bralic’s modified version of Paul Westhead’s “high octane run & gun” system which has been successfully instaled in Phoenix Marcury (WNBA).
Now, when this system has helped Croatia to drastically improve during the course of the Tournament and to win as many as 3 out of it’s 4 last games in 2011 EuroBasket for Women, many of his critics have silenced.
On Saturday, Croatian NT took the 5th place in 2011 Women EuroBasket and has qualified for the additional FIBA qualification cycle for London Olympics.
Fueled by it’s pressing defense and paced by it’s guard duet Jelena Ivezic (21 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals) and Iva Ciglar (19 points, 5 assists) Croatia managed to win the tournament rematch with Montenegro by 73:59.
The most astonishing statistic of the game was that Croatian NT bench led by Marta Cakic’s 12 points managed to outscore complete Montenegrian bench by as much as 34:6!
American-born SF Lisa Karcic saw extended playing time as defensive catalyst in the last two games which were vital to Croatian NT. She has responded with 6.0 points, 7.5 boards and 2.0 steals per game in those contests.
Croatian NT head coach Stipe Bralic’s postgame statement: “This is the biggest achievement of my career” (source: www.fibaeurope.com).
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