Hungarian center Petra Ujhelyi erupted for 24 points and 12 rebounds in a dominating display to lead Galatasaray to a 74-69 win over Electra Ramat Hasharon in the first leg of the EuroCup Women quarter-final.
Hosts Electra will be kicking themselves after entering the fourth quarter with a 54-49 lead, only to lose at home by five points after being outscored by the Turkish giants 25-15 over the last 10 minutes.
They will travel to Istanbul needing to overcome a five-point deficit.
"It is very important to remember that this is just the first half and we still have one more chance to make it to the next level," said Electra Rama Hasharon coach Orna Osrfeld.
"Everything's up for grabs."
|Tatyana Troina's 16 points and 9 rebounds were not enough for Electra Ramat-Hasharon|
"We are going home knowing the second game is going to be extremely hard and that Electra will come to win," he said.
"But if we play our defense like we have so far, we can win the second game as well."
Defense does win most games, and Akdag believes Galatasaray play it better than a lot of teams in Europe, including Turkish rivals Fenerbahce.
"This game was tough, but our great defense was our key to winning this game," he said.
"I believe we are the best defensive team in our Turkish league and one of the best in Europe."
The run that killed the home side came after they had taken a 56-52 lead with just under eight minutes remaining.
Ujhelyi made a pair of free throws to spark the 7-0 spurt that she finished off herself with a lay-up.
Electra managed to pull level but from that point on, the visitors never trailed.
The game was knotted at 69-69 with 1:04 left after a lay-up by Belarus international Tatyana Troina , but Sofia Young hit a pair of free throws and after Ujhelyi stole the ball away from Troina, Esra Sencebe buried a three-ball with 10 seconds to go for the final score.
Troina turned the ball over again but Gala weren't able to capitalize on their final possession with Sencebe's jump shot off target.
Troina, who will represent her country at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament this summer in Madrid, had 16 points and nine rebounds to pace her side.