by Paul Nilsen
Belgium Coach Daniel Goethals was left delighted after his team roasted Turkey 78-48 and explained his players have shown the mental toughness required to move further in the tournament.
"For the young age they are, they have a fantastic ability to react and they have to do that after we opened with a loss and now we have three wins in a row."
"I know my players are very close as a team and have a good spirit which is normal when you are performing well and winning games."
"However they also have the mental toughness and that is what we need to progress and also because I am a tough coach."
"I also thought that we played well against the zone because in a previous tournament we struggled badly against Turkey when they played a zone and we were losing by 8 or 9 points so my players adjusted very well."
"A weak point of my team is that we sometimes stop playing defence when we are leading in games and we need to improve this."
"Otherwise I was very happy with the girls, I knew that we would have a second big run in us and that Turkey would struggle to come back."
He added "This is a great start for us in this part of the competition but we now have to face up to Italy tomorrow which will be a great game and then as we move forward, focus on finishing in a position to avoid France."
In their previous three games, Turkey had struggled to get their offence going early and they were plagued by the same problem once again as Belgium sparked into life from the tip-off while Turkey sleepwalked into the game.
|Julie Vanloo connected for 19 points and 4 assists in 24 minutes of action|
Triples by Julie Vanloo and a couple from Lynn Delvaux helped Belgium establish an early 11-2 lead midway through the first. Jut when it looked like Turkey woul once again give themselves a mountain to climb, Pinar Caliskan stepped up to drain a three-pointer of her own.
This gave Turkey some much needed momentum and they completed a 9-0 run off the back of some nice defensive stops and transition plays to tie at 11-11 and the game remained finely balanced at 15-15 heading into the second.
Within minutes that equilibrium had been unsettled spectacularly as Belgium found another gear to leave Turkey stuttering in the slow lane. While Merve Aydin drilled a three to put Turkey 19-17 in front, they then disintegrated completely as Belgium ran riot.
After locking down Turkey defensively to force a turnover spree, they embarked on a 16-0 run to go 33-19 ahead and with center Emma Meesseman also cleaning up inside to grab 8 points in as many minutes, Belgium were 43-24 ahead at the break and it looked all over.
It was a familiar story for Turkey who in the group stages had only ever realised their potential in the second half of games an Coach Okul knew his team would have to dig deep yet again.
Things weren't helped when Meeseman opened her second half account within seconds to break the twenty point barrier and with Turkish offence almost non-existent it never looked likely that defence alone could get Turkey back into the contest.
Indeed Turkey looked tired and their usual passion and tenacity looked to have dipped a level and Belgium were only too happy continue to pile on the pain. They continued their ruthless destruction throughout the second half with Vanloo claiming 19 points while Meeseman added 4 blocks to her double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.