Smith, Ramazanoglu Fire Fener Past Lotos PKO BP

27.01.2009

Katie Smith underlined her status as one of the true greats in USA basketball history last year by capturing a third gold medal with the United States Olympic team and then earning MVP honors in the WNBA Finals with championship-winners Detroit.

On Tuesday night, the 34-year-old was doing her best to help Fenerbahce rule the roost in the EuroLeague Women play-offs, scoring a game-high 28 points in Fener's 87-83 triumph over Lotos PKO BP Gdynia.

Smith, who recently joined Fenerbahce, was eight of 11 from the floor and 11 of 12 at the line in her first European game with her new club.

Had she not inspired Fenerbahce to victory, Lotos PKO BP's Tamika Catchings would have stolen the headlines.

Catchings, a teammate of Smith's with the USA last summer in Beijing, had 24 points and eight rebounds in her first EuroLeague Women game with the Polish team.

Fener's win was not solely down to Smith because their Turkey international Nevriye Yilmaz had 19 points and 10 rebounds while Nalan Ramazanoglu also made a few big plays inside the final three minutes.

After Ivana Matovic made a lay-up to give Lotos PKO BP an 83-80 lead with 3:02 remaining, Ramazanoglu, coming out of a Fenerbahce timeout, hit a jump shot to cut the deficit to just one.

Ramazanoglu then intercepted a pass by Matovic and hit another jumper to put the home side in front.

After Matovic, who had 22 points, missed a jumper, Fener rebounded and Tammy Sutton Brown went to the line and made one of two for a two-point advantage.

Paulina Pawlak was off target with a potential go-ahead three-pointer for Lotos PKO BP and Fenerbahce rebounded.

Birsel Vardarli then sealed the victory with a pair of free throws.

The winners had a 37-21 hegemony on the boards.


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