|Gabriela Marginean played a key role in securing Istanbul Universitesi's historic semi-final ticket|
Istanbul Universitesi ensured Turkish representation in the EuroCup Women semi-finals after the debutantes clinched a dramatic and nerve-shredding 65-63 victory against Nantes Reze.
With the first-leg of the quarter-final in France finishing in a rare tie, it meant the second clash was a straight knockout for a place in the last four of the competition.
And, despite a horrific night from long-range which witnessed just one triple being sunk from 18 attempts, the hosts held their nerve in an edgy finale to see off their pesky opponents.
Nantes had trailed by double-digits with five minutes remaining but almost snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Indeed it was Nantes who started most brightly, jumping out into an 11-4 advantage, before Universitesi found their feet and pulled level.
After a series of constant lead changes, the game was still locked at 35-35 after a score by Marielle Amant for Nantes, but the home side then made what ultimately proved to be their game-winning move.
They outscored their opponents 15-5 either side of the third and fourth quarter break and it gave them the cushion they needed down the stretch.
Nantes came roaring back into contention with a powerful late surge and almost snatched victory with an 10-2 run which culminated in a basket by Amant reducing the arrears to just two points at 60-58.
But, they couldn't quite complete the comeback- much to the relief of the home fans as Shenise Johnson and Gabriella Marginean who shared 29 points in the win, got the job done in the dying seconds from the fee-throw line.
Aurelie Bonnan had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Nantes, whilst Melisa Can had 12 rebounds for Universitesi who dominated on the glass.
Hasan Firat Okul, Istanbul Universitesi head coach:
"We knew it would be hard in the last quarter. We played well in defense and offense. Our three-point shooting was 1/18 and that's bad but we won."
Liron Cohen, Istanbul Universitesi:
"Congras to Nantes for a great fight in both games. I am happy we showed character and played hard all the game and ended up with the victory. We have a goal and we needed this win to continue our way in Europe. Our fans were a big part of this great win tonight."