Young Guns Deliver For Last Four Turks

24 August 2012

U20 WOMEN

Turning Point: Turkey was labouring at the start of the second half and trailing by five points but a superb 13-0 run handed them the momentum they needed and they made the most of it to hang on.

Game Heroes: Olcay Cakir was carried off the court at half-time by the Turkish staff having rolled her ankle. But, she was back out the locker room early and everyone watched on intently as she got her ankle strapped up and played through the pain barrier to help her team into the last four. Pelin Bilgic and Gizem Basaran also stood out.

Stats Don't Lie: Turkish guard Merve Aydin claimed a phenomenal five offensive rebounds, including three down the stretch and that was the most important number in the game other than the final score.

 

8. Pelin Bilgic (Turkey)
Pelin Bilgic scored seven of her 12 points in the last quarter to help Turkey reach the Semi-Finals

Turkey is one step away from the Final of the U20 European Championship Women after young backcourt duo Pelin Bilgic and Merve Aydin played a major part in helping them secure a hard-fought 66-61 success against Belarus.

Having played at the U18 European Championship Women in Bucharest earlier this month when they lost their Quarter-Final match-up, they showed their quality to make amends this time around with two pivotal contributions.

Turkey was far from convincing by any means and whilst Belarus generally played well, they just couldn't recover from a poor five minute spell during the third quarter.

Having trailed 32-30 at half-time, Belarus ran out into a 40-35 lead and looked well set but then suddenly hit the wall offensively and Turkey managed to get a precious gap established with a scorching scoring run.

Belarus did come back into things but just when Turkey needed an extra boost, the classy Bilgic showcased her skills with a gorgeous jump shot and then a superb play at the hoop which handed her team a 58-49 advantage with seven minutes remaining on the game-clock.

Mariya Filonchky was proving a real handful for Belarus and she scored five points in a hurry to ensure Turkish nerves were left frayed once more. And, it set up a wonderfully absorbing final five minutes as Turkey tried clinging on to a 60-56 lead.

It was particularly interesting that head coach Aziz Akkaya went with his youngest backcourt combo down the stretch when Aydin joined Bilgic on the floor.

The latter continued her good work whilst the ever intelligent Aydin weighed in with a string of hugely important offensive rebounds and one memorable hustle play on defence which helped her team survive a potential late scare.

Turkey now meet Spain to determine who will face either Netherlands or Russia in Sunday's Final.

 

 


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