|Galatasaray point guard Epifaniya Prints led all scorers with 28 points on 60 percent shooting from the floor|
Galatasaray scraped a narrow win against a quickly-improving Bourges Basket on Wednesday to set up a battle with Ros Casares for Group A supremacy.
The Turkish club, rocked by the loss of Alba Torrens to a season-ending knee injury last week at Lotos Gdynia, prevailed 81-74 over Bourges in Istanbul.
Epifaniya Prince had her best game of the season at the right time, pouring in 28 points for Gala while Tina Charles contributed 25 and a team-high seven rebounds.
Endene Miyem led Bourges with 19 points and Celine Dumerc, absent from last week's game at Ros Casares with an ankle injury, returned to the line-up and scored 17 points.
The contest was hard-fought and close until the end.
A Miyem jump shot knotted the game at 70-70 with 4:18 to go, but Charles replied with a jumper and was fouled.
She missed the free-throw, but was the next to score in the game with another jump shot.
Ticha Penicheiro then stretched the advantage to six with a lay-up just 2:23 from the end.
Miyem kept the French team's hopes alive.
Coming out of a Bourges timeout, she scored with a lay-up and the next trip down the floor drew a foul from Prince and made both free-throws to cut the gap to 76-74.
That's when Diana Taurasi hit Bourges with a three-point dagger, making extending the lead to 79-74 for Galatasaray.
Bourges turned it over on their next possession, and Penicheiro's two free-throws with 34 seconds to play gave the hosts an 81-74 lead.
Stella Kaltsidou's attempt from long range for Bourges was off target and the game finished.
While Gala improved to 11-2 to set up a battle for first place in Group A next week at Ros Casares, Bourges fell to 6-7.
ZVVZ USK Prague (6-6) can leapfrog Bourges into the fourth place with a victory over Uni Seat Györ on Wednesday night.
Bourges play at home against VICI Aistes next week while Prague will travel to Poland to face Lotos Gdynia.
Prince and Turkey international Bahar Caglar each had three steals for Gala.
Bourges Basket Head Coach Valerie Garnier
"It's very difficult to defend Tina Charles. The problem is Tina Charles for us. When we play against Galatasaray the problem is Tina Charles. If we stop her, then the problem is outside, Taurasi, or tonight Prints. We are better than Galatasaray in some statistics, we got 13 offensive rebounds and 15 assists but we lost by 7 points. We shot 9 times more than them but 10 free throws less than them."
Galatasaray Medical Park Head Coach Ceyhun Yildizoglu
"Before the game we talked about Bourges that we're stronger than them especially inside. We knew that they have a lot of good shooters like Kaltsidou, Joens, Miyem. We stopped them but we couldn't stop their end of switch and post players. They won some points in the paint and from second chances. At the end of the game Penicheiro played really well. Today Diana Taurasi was sick and she couldn't play very well but in clutch time she made a very important three-pointer. We used our experience. We won, we are very happy but you know we lost Alba Torrens, Gulsah Gumusay and last, Saziye İvegin. Congratulations to Bourges."
Bourges Basket player Celine Dumerc
"Tonight we came so close but not enough. We made some mistakes against this kind of team. Some details made the difference, like communication in the last minutes, Ticha scored from lay-up. Also Charles was really hard to stop tonight, Prints also."
Galatasaray Medical Park player Isil Alben
"I didn't play very well because of some sickness. Bu today my teammates had some great performances like Ticha, Tina and Prints. Ticha decided the game with her experience in the last minutes and controlled the game. Tina was great in the painted area and Prints showed her scoring potential I think. In every game, we're going to dedicate the win to our lovely friends, Alba and Gulsah."