By David HeinBelgium could take a big step towards making the quarter-finals of the 2007 EuroBasket Women when they take on Turkey in the first game of the Group E qualifying round in Vasto.
The Belgians were the class of Group B in Lanciano and are looking to improve on their best-ever sixth-placed showing at the 2003 EuroBasket and qualify for at least the pre-Olympic tournament.
Turkey meanwhile hope to build upon their first victory of the tournament against Israel.
|Yilmaz, struggling with injuries, has been a non-factor for Turkey.|
Last Time Out: Belgium finished off a perfect 3-0 run in Group B with a 74-71 victory over Romania while Turkey advanced to the qualifying round by knocking off Israel 70-58.
Key Match-Up: Nilay Yigit vs Kathy Wambe: Wambe has been the driving force of the Belgian surge in Italy, averaging 11.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals. The Villeneuve-d'Ascq starlet also has committed just seven turnovers in guiding Belgium to a tournament-best 12 turnovers per game. Yigit must find a way to stop Belgium's motor.
X-Factor: Turkey center Nevriye Yilmaz: It remains unknown exactly how lingering the injury is to Cem Akdag's dominant low post presence, who missed Turkey's game against the Czechs and was a non-factor offensively against the Israelis. But Yilmaz needs to be fully fit and healthy for Turkey to have any chance.
Stats: After making just 5-of-30 (17%) three-pointers combined in their losses to Latvia and Czech Republic, the Turkish shooters came out of their funk against Israel to hit 10-of-24 (42%) of their long range shots.
Sounding Off: Belgium coach Laurent Buffard: "Turkey play very physical inside so it will be a very hard game. It's not always an advantage to have played a preparation game against a team and then play them again - even though we won. But if we play with the same confidence and the same frame of mind we did in the first round we should be okay."