Bulgaria had no answer for stopping Olexandra Gorbunov (right) in their EuroBasket Women 2009 additional qualification game against Ukraine.
Gorbunov scored 32 points and took 10 rebounds as she led her side to victory (67-61).
All the same Ukraine, playing at home in Kiev, did not have it easy. They were required to dig deep in the last two minutes of the match as Bulgaria drew level (61-61).
For Bulgaria Noel Monik Kuin led the attack with 16 points, Basket Landes’ Ekaterina Dimitrova was in the starting five and scored 7 points.
Ukraine play their final match on Friday, 16 January, against Germany. The Ukrainian EuroBasket qualification will be assured with a victory. However if they lose they will still qualify for the finals on the condition that Germany fail to beat them by more than 26 points.
It was a pity that there were not many people to watch this entertaining EuroBasket Women 2009 qualifier match at the hall in Liège.
Laurence Van Malderen was handy from behind the arc for Belgium with two shots for her side to take an early lead (8-4).
The two teams were soon level (9-9) but foul problems hindered them to progress.
Yet Belgium held on to the lead until the final minutes of the first period when Luca Ivankovic put Croatia in front for only the second time in the match.
Marta Cakic's buzzer beater allowed Croatia to edge the first period (25-22).
Belgium played more collectively during the second period. Despite players' foul problems they regained the advantage (32-30) after back to back baskets from Sara Leemans (left).
Both sides then traded basket for basket till the end of the period with Belgium heading into the locker ahead (43-41).
Belgium's youth players had problems dealing with Andja Jelavic who drew 8 fouls and scored 14 points during the first half.
Ana Lelas was the other player from Croatia that was dangerous with 13 points including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Belgium changed tactics after the break that enabled them to regain the lead despite the clutch three-point shooting from their guests (55-51).
Leemans was on hand to close the scoring for the third period and increase Belgium's advantage (64-58).
An 8-2 start from Belgium at the start in the final period put them in the driving seat for the rest of the match (72-60).
Jelavic (16 points) and Lelas (15 points) were not scoring anymore for Croatia while Stéphanie Dubuc (20 points that included 4 three-pointers) and Leemans (24 points) continued to find the target for Belgium as they went on to win (86-75).