Turkey Rally Beats Hosts

22.07.2008

Turkey rallied back from a 10-point half-time deficit to beat the Slovak Republic 57-53 in the U18 European Championship for Women.

The Turks bounced back from a poor first half - by the end of which they were down 30-20 - scoring the first seven points of the third quarter and proved the far better team down the stretch as the nerves got the better of the hosts.

Veronica Cernakova and Klaudia Lukacovicova had helped the home side take a comfortable lead but things began to unravel when their offense became too stagnant and resulted in bad shots and too many turnovers in the second half.

Matters only got worse when Lukacovicova - who finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds - was forced to sit after picking up her fourth foul with about five minutes left to play and the game still anyone's to win.

The momentum swung Turkey's way for good when Ozge Yavas completed a three-point play that handed her team a 51-49 lead with 4:36 to go.

With their centre out of the game, the Slovak Republic relied on Cernakova to get them back in front, but she was well covered and couldn't produce a late miracle.

The game was close in the first quarter with the hosts jumping out to an 8-2 lead before Turkey settled down and came back to be within three, 16-13, by the end of the first period.

The Turks hit a dry spell in the second quarter, going without a field goal for almost five minutes and the home side made the most of their chances to stretch the lead to 10, 30-20 on a Cernakova three-pointer for the half-time score.

Yavas had 19 points six rebounds and four assists, while Tugce Canitez finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds as Turkey improved to 1-2 in the group.

Cernakova tied Yavas for the game-high with 19 points of her own. With the loss, the Slovak Republic dropped to 1-2.

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