BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Fenerbahce's Angel McCoughtry was in great form in the Turkish Cup quarter-finals, with 26 points and 11 rebounds.|
This is one of the most important years in the history of Turkish women's basketball.
Fans in the country are right now enthralled by the SportToto Turkish Cup in Antakya, a southern city on the border with Syria.
Istanbul will play host to the EuroLeague Women Final Eight from 28 March to 1 April and at the end of June, the nation's capital, Ankara, will be the host city for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women.
Right now, all eyes are on Antakya, which is known for its Habib Neccar mountain and the city walls which climb the hillsides.
The Turkish Cup Quarter-Final clashes have all been played this week.
Mersin began the tournament with a 56-49 win over Optimum TED Ankara on Wednesday and Fenerbahce followed that up with a 70-59 triumph over Ceyhan Belediyespor.
On Thursday, Botas defeated Samsun Basketbol, 101-93, and then Galatasaray Medical Park finished the Quarter-Finals with an 85-72 victory against EuroCup Women finalists Kayseri Kaskispor.
On Friday, it will be Mersin's turn to play the role of David against Goliath when they take on Fener and Botas will do the same when they square off against Galatasaray.
Nearly everyone expects Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, two sides that will be at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight, to meet in the Turkish Cup title game.
Fener, a team coached by George Dikeoulakos, haven't lost all season in Europe.
In their victory over Ceyhan, Angel McCoughtry had a game-high 26 points and also pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds.
Fener were 18 of 19 at the free-throw line (95%).
In Galatasaray's win, Latoya Sanders was awesome for Kayseri.
She had 21 points and 10 rebounds but Diana Taurasi (23pts) and Epiphanny Prince (20pts) led Galatasaray, the EuroLeague Women Final Eight hosts, to victory.
Galatasaray, coached by Ceyhun Yildizoglu, would love nothing more than to enter the Final Eight as Turkish Cup winners.
"We took the first step," said Gala's Turkish international sharpshooter, Saziye Ivegin.
"Hopefully tomorrow, we'll play better against Botas because we want to go to the Final."
Ayhan Avci, the Kayseri coach, said his team had needed "a miracle" to beat a star-studded Galatasaray team.
"I think we did our best," he said.
"We played pretty well.
"I want to congratulate our rivals.
"Now we're going to play the European Cup Final (against Dynamo Kursk).
"We want to get that trophy."