By David Hein
Laurence Van Malderen's 16 points led five players in double figures as Belgium used an early 17-0 run to remain perfect at the 2007 EuroBasket Women with a 85-63 victory over Turkey in the Group E qualifying round in Vasto.
The Belgians improved to 3-0 in the group and could book a spot in the quarter-finals depending on Friday's later results.
Anke De Mondt scored 15 points while Ann Wauters had 13 points and Kathy Wambe and
Irina Medvedeva each added 10 points.
|Wauters had 13 points and five rebounds for Belgium in 21 minutes of action.|
In addition, the Belgium reserves nearly out-scored the Turkish starting five - 45-37 - in the convincing win.
"I was surprised that we took a big lead in the first quarter. Of course, you never expect it to be like this, but we defended well and we built a big lead and were able to play our game," said De Mondt, who helped the team to a 58% (38-of-66) shooting percentage and out-rebounded Turkey 36-28.
"This win was very important for us because we have almost guaranteed ourselves a place in the quarter-finals."
Turkey dropped to 0-3 in the group and missed greatly their second-leading scorer and leading rebounder Nevriye Yilmaz, who didn't play at all with a back injury that kept her out of one first round game and left her a non-factor in Turkey's victory over Israel.
Yasemin Horasan paced the Turkish attack with 17 points while Bahar Caglar added 10 points. But Cem Akdag's team struggled throughout the game from the outside, making just 1-15 three-pointers (7%).
"I found out that Yilmaz was unavailable to play five minutes before the game started. She has a back injury and of course, that changed completely my plans because I had prepared this game with Yilmaz in the team," Akdag said.
"The only positives that I can take from this game is that two of my youngest players (Caglar and Isil Alben - three points and two rebounds in 19 minutes) had plenty of playing time today."
Belgium made clear immediately they would not play down to Turkey's level, ripping off 17 straight points in opening a 19-2 lead.
Evelien Callens's three-pointer pushed the cushion to 23 points - 29-6 - before Turkey closed to within 29-10 after one period.
The Turks couldn't get any rhythm offensively and Wauter's basket gave Belgium a 26-point advantage - 45-19 - late in the second quarter. The Belgians went into the locker-rooms ahead 49-26.
A De Mondt three-pointer increased the lead to 28 points early in the third and Turkey inched only to within 24 the rest of the period, which ended with Belgium ahead 72-46.
Turkey finally began cutting into the lead with the Belgian reserves on the court, trimming the deficit to 76-56, but Belgium coach Laurent Buffard re-inserted Wauters and Belgium used a 7-0 spurt to re-establish control.
On Sunday, Turkey take on Germany while Belgium look to stay on a roll against Latvia.