Turkey has made it to the qualifying round after beating Israel 70-58 in day three of Group A play in Vasto, sending the winners of the additional qualifying tournament home.
This was a win-or-die game for both teams, but once the second half began the eventual outcome became obvious as Turkey came out of the gates white hot.
After taking a two point lead in a very offensive first half, Turkey opened the third quarter with a 13-0 run which made the whole difference.
|Shai Doron led Israel with 12 points in the loss.|
"Israel was a little bit tired from all the games they played lately," said the winning coach, Cem Akdag, outside the Turkey locker room. "We tried to take advantage of that. I told my players to keep playing hard and that's what happened after the break."
Yasemin Horasan had her second double-double in the tournament with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Israel managed to contain Nevriye Yilmaz to seven points, but saw Saziye Karsli and Lsil Alben add 10 each.
Shai Doron led Israel with 12 and was followed by Meirav Dori and Katya Abramzon who made 11 each, but combined for only eight points in the second half.
The teams were neck-and-neck in the first quarter.
Abramzon collected seven points for Israel in that time but Yasemin Horasan matched her, before Israel's Dori knocked down a three-pointer to make it 18-17 in favor of her team at the end of the first ten minutes.
Turkey made a 10-0 run early in the second, but Israel wasn't ready to give up.
Doron stepped up with some clutch plays and along with Dori and four points in a row by Liad Suez finished the first half down 43-41.
Four players on Turkey shared the points in the 13-0 run early in the third.
Dori scored the first points for Israel after five minutes, but that was already too late.
"The whole team was a little tired after so many games in the last days," she explained after the game. "The balls just didn't go in."
Turkey finished the third quarter with a 16 point lead, 61-45.
Israel seemed to have lost all hope, and despite Turkey scoring only nine points in the last quarter, the margin was never in danger.
"For us the championship started today," said coach Akdag. "I believe we can beat any team coming from the other groups."
Turkey will continue their games in the next round, while Israel will travel back home after a heroic campaign.