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2012 London Olympics Preview: Croatia

Sandra Perkovic will be one of 107 Croatian athletes at the Games, where she will compete in the discus. She won gold at the 2012 European Championships. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Sandra Perkovic will be one of 107 Croatian athletes at the Games, where she will compete in the discus. She won gold at the 2012 European Championships. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Bongarts/Getty Images

Along with Angola, another first-timer to the Olympics is the Croatian women. They'll open their first bid for a medal in the Games against the four-time defending champions from the United States. In fact, they'll play the Americans this weekend in exhibition action in Turkey before the Olympics begin. What a welcome to the competition for the newbies.

Croatia | Group A
Olympic Games history: This marks Croatia's first Olympic women's basketball appearance.
Place at 2010 FIBA World Championship: Did not compete
How they got here: 2012 FIBA World Qualifying Tournament
Names you might recognize: Lisa Karcic - the native New Yorker (New Hyde Park HS) is playing for her father's home country. She played her college basketball at Villanova, graduating in 2009. She was known for her 3-point game and scoring ability at Nova. Also, former South Carolina player Iva Sliskovic (2004-07) is on the current roster.
Statistical leaders: Marija Vrsaljko - 14.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg; Jelena Ivezic - 13 ppg; Sandra Mandir - 12.7 ppg and 3.3 apg; Ana Lelas - 12.3 ppg; Emanuela Salopek - 5.7 rpg; Andja Jelavic - 6.0 apg [in FIBA World Qualifying Tournament]
Preliminary round schedule: vs. U.S. (July 28), vs. China (July 30), vs. Czech Republic (Aug. 1), vs. Angola (Aug. 3), vs. Turkey (Aug. 5)