Yilmaz Hits Top Form As Turkey Beat Ukraine

16 September 2006

Neveriye Yilmaz was back to her very best on Saturday as Turkey clinched a fourth consecutive victory in EuroBasket Women qualifying against Ukraine.

Yilmaz, a 195 cm was a revelation at EuroBasket Women 2005, averaging 19.5 points and 11.3 rebounds for Turkey who finished in eighth place.

The Bulgarian-born Yilmaz had yet to hit her stride in qualifying, but exploded for 29 points and 7 rebounds in Turkey's 85-75 win over Ukraine.

She scored 10 of her points in a pivotal fourth quarter which saw Turkey turn a close game into an eventual 10-point win.

Turkey seemed to have the game well under control as early as the fifth minute when they opened up a 15-4 lead.

But Ukraine came storming back to within four points at the end of the period, and surged ahead with an impressive second quarter to lead 43-39 at halftime.

Ukraine took a 10-point lead after seven minutes of the third quarter through a Yuliya Yakhina three-pointer, but that was the cue for Turkey to fight back.

Yilmaz had five points in an 11-2 Turkey run to end the quarter and Ukraine's lead was just one point, 61-60, heading into the fourth.

It was Esmeral Tungluer who gave Turkey the lead for good with a three-pointer just one minute into the final quarter, 65-64.

Ukraine tied the score when Olga Shliakhova split a pair from the line, but a 7-0 run gave Turkey a clear lead, 72-65.

Yilmaz put the final nail in Ukraine's coffin just one minute later. First she nailed a jumper and then came up with a steal and fast break bucket to put Turkey up 76-67. Nilay Yigit added insult to injury with another steal and breakaway basket on the next play, and Turkey led 78-67 with 3:43 to go.

Ukraine were forced into a timeout, but to no avail, as Turkey easily held onto the lead and the win.

Tungluer continued her superb three-point shooting throughout qualifiyng (56%) with 3/5 shooting for her 15 points.

Turkey are virtually assured of a place at EuroBasket Women 2007 with the win, but will be looking for another victory against Israel on Wednesday.

Ukraine are still in the hunt for second place and face Slovenia in Kiev.

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