Confidence High As Gdynia Return To Turkey


It's do-or-die for eight teams in the EuroLeague Women this week and LOTOS PKO BP Gdynia are among them.

In what has been a thrilling Eighth-Finals series with Fenerbahce, the Polish giants hit back from the disappointment of an 87-83 Game 1 defeat in Istanbul by winning Game 2 in Gdynia 63-60.

LOTOS PKO BP coach Jacek Winnicki, whose Belarus international Natallia Marchanka and American

Nevriye Yilmaz (Fenerbahce)
LOTOS will have to contain Nevriye Yilmaz if they hope to top Fenerbahce.

Tamika Catchings have been terrific the past two games, fully believes his squad can get the job done in Turkey.

"The game at home against Fenerbahce was very tough," Winnicki said.

"I believe in my team and I think we can win in Istanbul.

"Fenerbahce is a very strong team, good under the basket and also from distance (shooting)."

Indeed, in great form for Fener has been Turkey international center Nevriye Yilmaz, who had 17 points and 14 rebounds in Game 2.

Arguably even more crucial has been the burst of energy, and the additional confidence that has arrived in the shape of Katie Smith from the United States.

The USA women's basketball star last year won a third Olympic gold medal and also earned MVP honors in Detroit's WNBA Finals triumph over San Antonio.

She joined Fenerbahce in January.

In Game 1 against LOTOS PKO BP, Smith erupted for 28 points while in the clash played in Poland Smith had 19 although she also turned the ball over seven times.

"We couldn't stop Katie Smith during last two games but I am not sure if anybody can do that," Winnicki said.

"Defense is the key. It's easier to play in attack if we play good defense so we have to be prepared for a tough game."

LOTOS PKO BP power forward Magdalena Leciejewska, who had 12 points in her team's victory, is expecting another close encounter.

"We all played a very good game in Gdynia," she said. "Now we have to play much better in Istanbul.

"We know each other very well, so I think it will be very close game."

In the other Eighth-Finals showdowns that are still to be resolved, Gambrinus Sika Brno travel to Bourges, CSKA Moscow visit Halcon Avenida and MKB Euroleasing Sopron host Wisla Can-Pack Krakow.

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Schio, ITA
Istanbul, TUR
Bourges, FRA
Kosice, SVK
Moscow, RUS
Villeneuve d'Ascq, FRA
Istanbul, TUR
Brno, CZE
Salamanca, ESP
Sibenik, CRO
Gdynia, POL
Pécs, HUN
Sopron, HUN
Orenburg, RUS
Valencia, ESP
Vidnoje, RUS
Kaunas, LTU
Riga, LAT
Venezia, ITA
Verkhnyaya Pyshma, RUS
Valenciennes, FRA
Krakow, POL
Prague 7, CZE