Mav Coop Szolnoki upset the home team at the Abdi Ipecki arena in Istanbul, Turkey to qualify for the final of the 2004 FIBA Europe Cup Women. 4,000 fans turned up at the arena which hosted the final of the 2001 European Championship for Men, but the majority went home disappointed as their team was outmatched by the Hungarian outfit.
|Serap Yücesir (Fenerbahce)|
Yucsehir’s absence was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Fenerbahce, who already trailing, lost the leadership and rebounding of their captain for the remainder of the game.
The first quarter produced the most competitive and exciting basketball of the entire contest. Coco Miller was the stand-out player for Fenerbahce as she scored 6 of her team’s first 8 points. For Szolnoki, New Zealander Gina Farmer was the offensive leader and she hit 8 first quarter points.
After 10 minutes the score was 18:24 in favour of Szolnoki and the signs were that the Hungarians would not relinquish their control. Kristina Papp personified her team’s dominance on the boards and she grabbed 5 of Szolonoki’s 11 first quarter rebounds.
The 2nd quarter was far scrappier than the first and both teams struggled to put the ball in the bucket. Bethany Donaphin battled to establish Fenerbahce’s inside presence and she was somewhat successful. However, she also proved profligate with her shooting and finished the game 4/13 from the field.
The halftime score was 33:37 and Fenerbahce were still within striking distance, but the 3rd quarter was their undoing. Papp began the quarter by hitting 2 jump shots, and Angela Delmis added a 3-pointer to increase her team’s lead to 10 points, 34:44.
The quarter was stopped for about 10 minutes as medics came to the aid of Yuccsehir after her injury, and following the restart, Szolnoki immediately re-asserted their authority. Serb and Montenegrin national team player Milka Bjelica closed the quarter with a bucket and foul, and the score was 43:57 in favour of the Hungarians.
Fenerbahce showed some signs of the form that had brought them to the Final Four in the last quarter, but by this time the Szolnoki lead was already at 20 and the game over.
Delmis was the most consistent player for Szolnoki and led the team in scoring with 17 points. Bjelica, who came off the bench, finished with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Coco Miller cooled considerably after her hot start and finished the game with 12 points. Donaphin recorded 19 points and 7 rebounds for Fenerbahce, but missed too many shots inside. As a whole the Turkish side made just 20/60 from the field and 18/29 from the free-throw line.
Peter Tapodi, Head Coach, Mav Coop Szolnoki:
“We knew that Fenerbahce were a well organised team, but I think we have a stronger squad. We decided to play zone defense after watching a tape of a Fenerbahce game just last night. We saw on the tape that Fenerbahce struggled against zone defense and I think our zone today helped us to win.”
Angela Delmis, Mav Coop Szolnoki:
“At the start of the season our goal was to get to the last 8 of the FIBA Europe Cup Women. Now we are in the final and have nothing to lose.
“We played well today and controlled the game.”
Zafer Kalaycioglu, Head Coach, Fenerbahce:
“We really wanted to make the final but Szolnoki was very strong and we were physically outmatched the whole game.
“Their rebounding was very strong and the injury to our captain was key. After she left the game was over for us.
“We played our game in the 4th quarter but by then it was too late. We hope that our fans will come to the game tomorrow and support us.”
Esra Sencebe, Fenerbahce:
“Normally we are a much better team, but in front of our own fans we felt the pressure and were stressed. We have to forget this loss and perform better tomorrow."