|Yasemin Dalgalar and Turkey further strengthened their medal credentials on Saturday with a commanding victory|
By Paul Nilsen
Turning Point: Sweden were hanging tough best they could at the start of the second half, having trailed 31-26 at the midway point of the game. But, when Turkish shooter Yasemin Dalgalar drained a big triple from the corner with a Swedish hand in her face to make it 42-30, it was a sign of things to come, as Turkey put their foot on the accelerator.
Stats Don't Lie: Sweden have been hot for most of the tournament from the arc, but found it more of a struggle against Turkey who had the quick guards to shut down their shooters in a flash. Sweden could only manage 28% from downtown.
Game Heroes: Isil Alben and Dalgalar both stood out. The former finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists, whilst the latter had a near perfect shooting night, with only one missed foul-shot in a handy 11-point haul.
Classy Turkey again underlined why they are serious contenders for the very top of the EuroBasket Women 2013 podium after seeing off Sweden 72-51, to leave the quarter-finals hopes of their opponents hanging in the balance.
Whilst the final margin was significant, the first half and particularly the opening ten minutes were breathtaking, as Turkey tried to assert their authority.
A relentless tempo was accompanied by plenty of aggressive action both on and off the ball and with some super plays to savour, it was a perfect cocktail for the fans.
In front of a near packed house which contained huge support for both teams, the players produced a stunning opening half in a wonderful advert for the women's game.
Red-hot Anna Barthold was outstanding for Sweden against Montenegro and she picked up where she left off to get the Swedes rolling, whilst Isil Alben dropped a couple of three-pointers for Turkey.
The Turkish side then kept their noses in front, despite Quanitra Hollingsworth having to sit down due to foul trouble after picking up three offensive fouls.
Every time Turkey threatened to pull away, such as when Dalgalar sunk a three-ball to make it 26-18, Sweden responded, but they were still down five points at half-time, after Tugba Palazoglu came up with a nice ‘And-1' play.
Whilst everyone tipped their hat in admiration of both teams at the interval, Turkey would soon take complete control.
As usual, their depth and three-point shooting began to make a difference.
Then, when they flicked their defensive switch to full-power, Sweden just couldn't react as Turkey eased their way over the line.
Sweden Player Danielle Hamilton-Carter:
"I think we did a great job in the beginning of the game, we were pretty close with them, but this is a forty minutes game and when you play against a top level team like Turkey you can't play good only the beginning."
Turkey Player Aysegül Günay:
"We did a great job; I am so excited for winning this game... Now we want to beat Spain and advance to the next round as winners of our group."
Sweden Head Coach Lars Johansson:
"Congratulations to Turkey for a well-played game, they deserved the win. They are a really tough team. After watching all games, I think they are one of the top contenders, maybe to even go all the way. We tried our best, until half-time we really worked very hard, but it is difficult for us to do it during 40 minutes; Turkey has high-level players. To be honest, when we play good, we play really good, but when we play bad, we play really bad, so we need to find more consistency."
Turkey Head Coach Ceyhun Yildizoglu:
"I want to congratulate Sweden; just like the Italian team they did a very good job. We came out with the same concentration as in the previous game, my players got used to the rhythm of the game, and we played with smart movements on offence and defence. Congratulations also to my players for the game they played."