Undefeated Turkey to take on Mozambique at worlds
Turkish women’s national basketball players team celebrate after beating Canada 55-44 to secure a place in the quartefinasl of the 2014 World Championship.Turkey’s national women’s basketball team will continue its quest for a medal at the FIBA World Championship today against Mozambique after winning its first two games on home soil.
Turkey beat Canada 55-44 Sept. 28 in a game that was very close for the first three quarters before the “Fairies of the Hoop,” as the woman’s national team is known, pulled away in the final quarter to secure the victory and a spot in the last eight.
Shooting guard Kim Gaucher was able to hit a buzzer-beater three-pointer for Canada to equalize the score at 31 at the end of the third quarter, but the Canadians were not able to hold off Turkish power forward Lara Sanders in the last quarter.
Turkey scored 24 points in the fourth stanza on the back of great performances from point guards Işıl Alben and Birsel Vardarlı and Sanders’ great inside game.
Sanders finished with 18 points, six rebounds and a dominating five blocks. Center Nevriye Yılmaz joined her teammate with 13 points and five rebounds.
Gaucher and forward Katherine Plouffe’s nine points were not enough for Canada as no player could score double-digit points for the North American side.
Canada lost its first game and will play a crucial last match against France tonight at 9:15 p.m. local time in Ankara, while group leader Turkey plays Mozambique at 7 p.m.
Elsewhere in the tournament, Spain and the Czech Republic also prevailed to set up a battle for Group A supremacy, while both Australia and Belarus won their games to set up a Group C showdown for first.
Two of the most exciting clashes were played in Istanbul, with Belarus coming back from a late deficit to stun Cuba, 70-69, and the United States having to withstand a gallant effort by Serbia for three quarters before pulling away for a 94-74 triumph.
That result means that Belarus will face Australia today for first place because the Opals, who had won their opener against Cuba, hammered Korea in Sept 28’s first game in Istanbul, 87-54.
Erin Phillips has been the live-wire of the Australian Opals squad, especially in the absence of Lauren Jackson and Liz Cambage.
The Phoenix Mercury shooting guard was once again at the vanguard of another Australian win on Sept. 28 – the second in as many games – assuring the team of a place in the next round.
“The way we are playing is very good. There’s a lot of positive energy,” said the 29-year-old, who had four points, five rebounds and handed out a game-high seven assists.
“We are playing a really tough style of basketball. Nothing complicated, just move the ball. Just old-school basketball. It’s been fun for us, and it’s tough for the opposition to guard. Our defense has been the highlight,” Phillips said on the take-aways from the first two wins. “Our aggressiveness on defense has made the oppositions get out of sync. It’s been disruptive on the opposition. That’s a big plus for us.”