Balanced Turkey hold off Lithuania, Russia ease past Belarus

08.08.2008

Emel Güler (Turkey)
Emel Güler (Turkey) hit 10 points for Turkey
Turkey used a balanced attack to hold off Lithuania 66-59 in the Group A opener of the Termosteps U16 European Championship Women.

Pelin Gülbag, Emel Güler and Özlem Öztürk all hit for 10 points for Turkey, who survived shooting just 35 percent by holding Lithuania to just 29 percent from the field and forcing 20 turnovers.

Monika Grigalauskyte led Zivile Mikalauskaite's Lithuania with 26 points and 15 rebounds while Gabija Morkunaite added 13 points from the outside.

Öztürk had a three-pointer and three-point play as Turkey opened a 13-5 gap early. And Vitalija Kaminskyte's jumper pulled Lithuania to within 13-7 with 5:42 left in the opening quarter. But Gülbag scored six points in a 14-0 run for a 27-7 advantage after one period. Grigalauskyte hit six points in Lithuania's 11-2 spurt to start the second for a 29-18 deficit only to see Firat Okul's Turks forced a couple turnovers and Ayse Cora make three baskets as Turkey regained control and built a 22-point lead - 44-22. It was 44-28 at the break.

The Lithuanians used the inside play of Grigalauskyte and three triples from Morkunaite to chip away at the Turkey lead and get within four points late in the third quarter and trail 55-49 going into the fourth. Güler re-established an eight-point gap but Grigalauskyte knocked down a three-ball and Viktorija Dimaite's second straight inside basket made it 59-56 midway through the fourth. Rana Derin answered with a break-away lay-up and Olcay Cakir gave Turkey a 66-57 cushion with two minutes left. And Dimaite missed three straight shots inside as Lithuania could not complete the comeback.

Yana Matveeva and Yulia Stepanova meanwhile both collected double-doubles as Russia opened the Termosteps U16 European Championship Women with a convincing 68-45 victory over Belarus.

Matveeva had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Stepanova added 14 and 12 in the Group D opener for Russia, who used an 18-0 run to blow the game open.

Maryia Filonchyk paced Belarus with 21 points and 10 rebounds as the only player in double figures.

Both teams started slow with the score just 6-3 after four minutes. Filonchyk carried Belarus with nine points in the first quarter for a 14-12 lead. Svetlana Efimova and Matveeva got the Russians back into rhythm for a 18-17 lead before Filonchyk gave Viktoriya Datsun's side a 23-19 advantage.

But Tatiana Makarycheva's Russians led 27-24 at intermission.

Belarus remained in the game early in the second half with Karalina Padshyvalava's basket trimming Russia's lead to 34-29. But the combination of Matveeva and Stepanova on offense and a superb defense was too much as Russia reeled off an 18-0 run over five minutes for a 52-29 advantage. Diana Sazonova and Ekaterina Kubynina both knocked down three-balls early in the fourth to push the lead to 24 points and Belarus never got closer than 19 points the rest of the way.


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