Nevriye Yilmaz, Penny Taylor and Diana Taurasi teamed up to become an unstoppable force and lead Fenerbahce to a 91-82 win over Rivas Ecopolis in their EuroLeague Women opener.
|Penny Taylor was red hot for Fenerbahce with 27 points and 7 rebounds|
The trio combined for 77 of Fener's 91 points, with Taylor scoring 27, Yilmaz 26 and Taurasi 24. Yilmaz also added 10 rebounds.
Even so, the hosts did their best to stay in touch, and it was still a two-possession game with Amaya Valdermoro's three-pointer cutting the gap to 86-80 with two and half minutes to go.
But Taylor was then fouled making a jump-shot and made it 89-80 from the line.
Valdermoro missed a jump-shot and turned the ball over as Rivas' hopes of a late rally disappeared.
Rivas had started much the stronger, enjoying a 30-18 lead early in the second quarter, but Fener then rallied, and Taylor's three-pointer cut the gap to three, 39-36, late in the half.
They quickly took the lead at the start of the third quarter but the game could still have gone either way as the visitors held only a narrow advantage, 69-66, at the start of the final period.
Spanish star Valderomo led Rivas with 21 points while Courtney Paris and Dewanna Bonner had 16 points and 12 rebounds each.
"At the beginning of the season, we´ve had three players at the World Championship and that has been a problem for us". "We´ve had a lot of problems in defense in the first half, but we fought hard in the second half and I´m happy about that and the way that we adjusted to their defense. I want to say that Rivas played really well and that they have a great team, they will be a hard team to beat here in Madrid."
Fenerbahce guard Diana Taurasi:
"It has been a very hard game, a really difficult win, but we played better as the game went on and that was the key" "They came out really strong, they have a really good team with Amaya and some very experienced players, I´m sure that they will have a good year in the EuroLeague. We´re still building and it takes time to put a team together, but we´re on the right track"
Rivas Ecópolis Head Coach Javi Fort:
"I leave this game with a bittersweet sensation, because you play Fenerbahce until the last minutes, and we´re talking about a team that has been build to win this competition, and we did well against them. On the other hand we had a chance to win the game, but you can´t make the defensive mistakes that happened in the last quarter when you want to win against a top EuroLeague team".
Rivas Ecopólis small forward Amaya Valdemoro:
"We did really well most of the time against one of the best teams in the world right now. They have great all around shooters, even their big players, and that is a very dangerous weapon for them. We have to be happy with how we performed here tonight. In EuroLeague games you have to do the right things until the end, because if you make mistakes, you pay for them"