Serbia Unable To Finish Off Fighting Turkey

30 July 2009

In an explosive and pulsating start to the Group A action in Naples, Serbia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory to leave head coach Zoran Kovacic hopes of a top five finish in the tournament suddenly looking optimistic.

Serbia crashed 63-59 and were undone by an MVP 20 point performance by Turkish star Olcay Cakir whose contribution at both ends of the floor was magnificent as she led her team to an unlikely win having trailed for most of the game.

Serbia raced out of the blocks and made a blistering start, opening up a 19-8 lead with point guard Aleksandra Stancev leading the way in the opening exchanges with seven quick fire points.

Just when it looked like Turkey could be in danger of being blown out, they recovered superbly and after a much needed time-out came storming back with a noticeably more aggressive approach.

That change in attitude helped to spark a 6-0 run off the back of some impressive defence with Cakir weighing in with 4 steals to set the tone. This helped Turkey to reduce the deficit to just 26-22.

Approaching half-time the terrific high tempo defensive work by Turkey began to fade slightly and with their own outside game also failing them, Aleksandra Popovic drained a triple for Serbia as they regained their double digit advantage to lead 38-28 going into the second half.

In the third period Turkey again came back into the game, using their impressive defence and set up a thrilling finale at 45-42 heading into the final period.

Serbia began to dry up and only triples from Toskovic held off the inevitable as a fired-up Turkey made their move.

Cakir went coast to coast and came up with a game winning steal inside the last minute with Pinar Caliskan handing Turkey the lead.

While Serbia had the opportunity to tie or even win the game with 8.9 seconds left on the clock, they committed yet another turnover to gift wrap the win to Turkey.

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