Halcon Avenida got an unexpected lift from Sancho Lyttle and scoring burst from Alba Torrens at just the right time in an 81-64 victory at reeling Galatasaray on Wednesday.
Lyttle had suffered a muscular injury during the Copa de la Reina in Valencia over the weekend and was a big uncertainty for the game in Istanbul but felt well enough to play and contributed 12 points and eight rebounds.
A 17-2 run that bridged the first and second quarters left the Salamanca outfit on top 25-8.
The hosts reduced the arrears to 37-32 by half-time, and still only trailed 48-42 with 4:08 to go in the third quarter after a basket by Melissa Can.
Avenida then lowered the boom.
Leading 50-44, a Torrens three-point play, an Anna Montanana jump shot and then a three-ball by Torrens extended the advantage to 60-44.
Gala got no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
Lyttle's Spain international teammate Torrens had 24 points to lead all scorers while Brazil center Erika De Souza finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Avenida improved to 7-2 and stayed on course for a first-place finish in Group C.
They will host Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje (5-3) next week.
If Sparta&K win at Tarbes on Thursday, a triumph at Avenida for the Russian giants would give the four-time defending champions pole position.
Gala had been hoping to bounce back from their 91-86 upset at VICI Aistes before Christmas but even with the United States internationals Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus in the line-up, the Turkish club didn't have enough to beat the visitors from the Iberian Peninsula.
Galatasaray Medical Park Head Coach Ceyhun Yıldızoğlu:
“We didn’t start the game well. However we achieved to come back in the final minutes of the first half but they had an important size advantage over us and put into practice that in the crucial moments. I am sorry to say that we couldn’t lose the game tonight as a real team. We were so fragile on the court but we can still qualify to play in the Last 16. So we have to beat USK Prague next week.”
Halcon Avenida Head Coach Lucas Mondelo:
“We were good on playing transition game and forcing them to turn the ball over but the key point was the defence. That gave us many options on offense. Apart from the tactics the attitude of the team was great on sharing the ball as a team. We want to be competitive team in the EuroLeague Women and we are hopeful in the EuroLeague for going as far as we can. In Salamanca we all trust in the team. Not just win! We are trying to play beautiful basketball and they are enjoying.”
Halcon Avenida player Anna Montanana:
“This was a very important game. The Turkey trip was tough for us because we just came from a loss in the Spanish Cup. We won tonight but we need to win one more time next week.”