Galatasaray wins historic Euroleague title over Fenerbahçe
AA PhotoGalatasaray Odeabank became the first Turkish female basketball team to win a European title, after a big victory over arch rival Fenerbahçe on April 13.
The Lions roared to a 69-58 victory over Fenerbahçe in a game played in Ekaterinburg, Russia, to claim the Euroleague Women title in a historic match for Turkish basketball.
Sancho Lyttle scored 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the team to victory, while playmaker Işıl Alben had an all-around performance with nine points, six rebounds and eight assists.
“It’s incredible,” a teary-eyed Işıl told broadcaster NTV Spor. “If somebody has asked me what you want to achieve in your career, that would be the European title.”
Alba Torrens scored nine points along with her four rebounds and six assists in the final, and was later named the Most Valuable Player of the Final Eight.
Alben recalled that Galatasaray was also the first Turkish women’s basketball team to win a continental title with its 2009 victory in the second-tier Euro Cup, and said it was “remarkable” for the team to better that feat. She credited coach Ekrem Memnun for the victory.
“This is a team victory,” Memnun said for his part. “It is so important for myself, but we did it with a group of players who have did exactly what I asked them to.”
Galatasaray shocked overwhelming title favorite UMMC Ekaterinburg in the semifinal on April 11, while Fenerbahçe beat Tango Bourges for a place in the final game.
Earlier yesterday, UMMC Ekaterinburg crushed Tango Bourges 80-60 for the third spot.
Galatasaray dominated the game early on, and jumped to a 26-7 lead in the first quarter. Fenerbahçe then clawed back in the second quarter, and were able to cut the difference to 42-29 at halftime.
A tight third quarter saw the score improve to 57-45 and Fenerbahçe cut the gap to as little as two points in the last quarter, with Esmeral Tunçluer converting three free throws to make the score 55-53 with five minutes left in the play.
However, a remarkable late run, fired by two three-point shots made by Şebnem Kimyacıoğlu, saw Galatasaray hang on to its lead.
The Lions’ Işıl Alben and Shavonte Zellous converted their free throws to fly Galatasaray to an unprecedented European title for a Turkish club.
Zellous also finished with nine points and eight rebounds, while Kelsey Bone had 10 points.
Fenerbahçe’s Cappie Pondexter led her team with 18 points, and Angel McCoughtry followed with 12 points.