|Diana Taurasi is back in Europe and -in case there were any doubts- she made it clear right from the start that she means business|
Galatasaray broke open a close game midway through the fourth quarter and beat VICI Aistes in the EuroLeague Women opener for both sides on Thursday evening.
New Gala star Diana Taurasi had 31 points, including a perfect seven-of-seven effort from long range, and Alba Torrens added 18 as the Turkish giants won 83-66 in Istanbul.
The visitors from Kaunas, Lithuania, were only down 64-60 with 7:04 to go after a Courtney Pilypaitis three-pointer.
Amanda Kemezys' jump shot then closed the gap to 64-62.
After two Kemezys free-throws left the visitors behind 67-64 with 5:54 to play, Gala took over.
Tina Charles hit a jump shot and Torrens added a lay-up before Taurasi buried one of her shots from long range.
The three baskets came at the start of a 16-0 run for Galatasaray which left them with an 83-64 lead just 1:39 from the end.
Taurasi also had eight rebounds and six assists in the game.
Turkey international guard Isil Alben finished with a game-high eight steals for Gala.
Vita Kuktiene, Vici Aistes' 31-year-old forward, led the team with 18 points and Pilypaitis weighed in with 17.
Sandra Linkeviciene, the Lithuania national team captain who has returned home to play for Vici Aistes, had a game-high 10 rebounds and four assists to go with her eight points.
Vici Aistes stayed in the game for 35 minutes because of their rebounding.
They won the battle of the boards, 49-31.
Like so many other teams have discovered over the years, though, when Taurasi is turning on all cylinders, there not much any defense can do to stop her.