Galatasaray Ease Past Sparta&K

07.04.2014

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

8. Shavonte Zellous (Galatasaray odeabank)
Shavonte Zellous had a productive night, scoring 15 points for Galatasaray odeabank

Turning Point: The wind was in the sails of Sparta&K after they wiped out a 14-point second-half deficit, but successive baseline jump-shots from either side of the basket by Sebnem Kimyacioglu and Sancho Lyttle, got Galatasary back in the ascendency with just over two minutes left on the clock as they crucially made it a three-possession game.

Stats Don't Lie: Sparta&K have now lost all four games this season when they have been behind at half-time. Also 19 turnovers hurt Sparta&K, but once again the strength of Galatasaray in taking great care of the basketball proved to be vital as they only spilled it 11 times.

Game Heroes: Sancho Lyttle showed why she was voted FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year and was handed her award before tip-off with a typically assured and eye-catching 18 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Isil Alben also took care of business towards the end of the game from the point-guard spot at both ends of the floor.

Galatasaray odeabank went some way to burying their disappointment of drawing a blank at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight last year by opening this year's campaign in Ekaterinburg with a 68-61 success against Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje.

However, it was far from straightforward for the Turkish League regular season winners as Sparta&K rallied from 14 points behind after the break to level the scores and set up a nail-biting finale.

5. Sonja Petrovic (Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje)
Sonja Petrovic believes Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje can remain proud despite the loss

While Sparta&K weren't able to push on and take victory, their 15-point leading scorer Sonja Petrovic insisted the team could feel proud despite having to stomach an opening day defeat.

"Once again we proved we are definitely a team with real heart and we can be proud," she mused.

"However, they just had so many experienced players who make good decisions from good positions.

"Isil Alben showed her quality and the difference by getting her team-mates good shots and not just any kind of shot.

"Of course we have regrets because we came so close, but now we move on."

Sparta&K were always playing catch-up after starting slowly and falling 22-10 behind, with Galatasaray finding an offensive groove from the outset.

That theme continued and when they ahead 48-34 after the midway point of the game, it looked like the Turkish team would coast to a comfortable win.

Sparta&K had other ideas, especially when Evgenia Belyakova nailed a triple to level matters and complete a fine 22-8 run.

But, the additional experience and composure of Galatasaray down the stretch proved to be the difference as they made the big plays in crunch time.


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