Galatasaray Lift EuroLeague Women Title

13 April 2014
20. Sancho Lyttle (Galatasaray odeabank)
Sancho Lyttle came back from injury to produce an inspired performance for Galatasaray odeabank

Turning Point: Sebnem Kimyacioglu stepped into EuroLeague Women history and Galatasaray basketball folklore as she came off the bench with four minutes remaining and sunk a huge triple from the wing. Minutes later, she converted again from downtown and effectively won the game for her team.
Stats Don't Lie: Fenerbahce allowed their fierce rivals to shoot an eye-popping 63.3% in the first-half and were always climbing the mountain as a result. The fact that Galatasaray didn't do anything special from downtown will be particularly galling because it was made up of far too many soft scores under the basket.
Game Heroes: Kimyacioglu was the saviour for Galatasaray who had been on the ropes as Fenerbahce fought back from a huge deficit. Her two big time triples sealed the deal. Sancho Lyttle was rated as doubtful after missing most of the semi-final, but the FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year came back to complete a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds. Isil Alben was again instrumental with nine points and eight assists.

Galatasaray odeabank are the new EuroLeague Women champions and the first to hail from Turkey after they shut down city rivals Fenerbahce 69-58 in an utterly absorbing conclusion to the Final Eight.

With Sancho Lyttle returning from her ankle injury, Galatasaray were able to record their historic moment off the back of another stunning start to the game and also the late heroics of Kimyacioglu.

The guard was thrust into the contest and responded in fine style.

She said, "We knew this game was likely to come down to who made the big shots and even when we had a big lead we knew they were a team capable of coming back and they did.

"My coach (Ekrem Memnun) trusted me and put me into the game at an important time.

"In those moments I just found myself free and on the first one, I just laughed to myself when it went in because I don't think I had made a three in the whole tournament.

"That just gave me the confidence when the next one came along and I guess it's right to say they were the biggest two shots of my career."

There had been a sense of déjà vu as Galatasaray picked up from where they left off in the semi-final against UMMC by posting another dream start, this time racking up an astonishing 26-7 first quarter.

10. Isil Alben (Galatasaray odeabank)
Isil Alben was once again a force to be reckoned with for Galatasaray odeabank, finishing the tournament as the undisputed leading point guard

They even took their lead out to 21 points early in the second half and were comfortable until the end of the third quarter when Fenerbahce finally established a foothold in the game.

Back-to-back triples from Esmeral Tuncluer and Angel McCoughtry cut the gap to 51-44 and with real impetus behind them, they got back to within two points, with the impressive Agnieszka Bibryzycka then rimming out on a shot which incredibly would have given Fenerbahce the lead.

But, it wasn't to be as Kimyacioglu entered the fray and did something that she will be remembered for throughout the remainder of her career.

As for Fenerbahce, it was the only game they had lost all season and tough to take for head coach Roberto Iniguez.

"We lost the game in the first quarter and it was similar to last season," bemoaned the Spaniard.

"We were too slow and soft in the first-half and the difference in the scoring of the post players was far too big."

"I can't question the sacrifice the players made in their effort and now we have to be professional and move on because we may face a play-off with them in the Turkish Championship."




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