Slow-starting Fener Cruise Home

18.03.2013

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

15. Ivana Matovic (Fenerbahce)
Ivana Matovic finished the game with 14 points

Turning Point: A poor third period by short-handed Bourges allowed Fener to finally get the steals and defensive rebounds needed to play their preferred brand of transition basketball. The result was a devastating 25-4 ten minute spell as Bourges went into meltdown, not scoring for ten minutes in a major drought across the third and fourth quarter.

Game Heroes: Angel McCoughtry and Anastasiya Verameyenka both shone brightly for Fenerbahce. The former harvested 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals whilst the latter corralled a double-double 11 points and 11 rebounds to add to her three steals and two blocks.

Stats Don't Lie: Fenerbahce only had three steals in the entire first half, but grabbed seven during the third quarter as they turned up the defensive heat and assumed control.

Fenerbahce shrugged off a slow start to power their way past injury-hit Bourges and record a 69-44 success in their opening game at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight.

In a game of two distinct halves, Bourges were on the front foot from the tip-off and revelled in some fine early play, storming into a commanding 19-10 advantage after capitalising on some uncharacteristic sloppy play from their opponents.

However, a Cappie Pondexter triple from deep downtown on the first quarter buzzer kick-started Fener into life and a 12-5 run as they belatedly established a foothold in the game.

Despite the comeback of Fener, it was a hugely encouraging start to the tournament for Bourges and especially with Celine Dumerc having being benched due to early foul trouble.

Her teenage replacement Romane Bernies did a good job in helping to keep the French side in front at 31-28 by the time both clubs hit the locker rooms.

Ten first-half turnovers told the story for a lacklustre Fenerbahce, but they came out a different team in the third quarter, when they caught fire in a big way at both ends of the floor.

The dramatic improvement left Bourges trailing in their wake, with the French visitors suffering from an anticipated lack of firepower with Frida Eldebrink, Cathy Joens and Styliani Kaltsidou all absent having picked up season ending injuries.

Despite their inauspicious opening during the first couple of quarters, Fenerbahce head coach Roberto Iniguez was unconcerned at the slow start and preferred to focus on how his players stamped their authority on the contest after the interval.

"The first game of any intense competition like this is always very difficult," he explained.

"We wanted to play the game with pace and for all the players to play very well and it is something we spoke about at half-time.

"In the second half, we played with energy, with our usual defence and were much more focused.

"We learned many things about this game and we will play better tomorrow against Schio."

 


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