Turkey Pull Away From Serbia & Montenegro

02 September 2005

Turkey, backed by a 2000-strong crowd in Izmir, enjoyed a superb start to the EuroBasket Women by beating Serbia & Montenegro 81-69 in the last Group B game of day one.

The tournament hosts got a game-high 21 points from Yasemin Horasan in a triumph which was not as easy as the final score suggests.

After twice leading by 11 points in the second quarter, Turkey allowed the visitors to battle their way back and move in front themselves after half-time.

Turkey went from leading 41-31 near the end off the first half to trailing 45-41 with just over three and a half minutes played in the third quarter.

Monika Veselovski's three-pointer levelled the scores at 41-41 for Serbia & Montenegro and a pair of Ana Jokovic free throws and an Ivanka Matic jumpshot completed the 14-0 run for a four-point advantage for the visitors.

Turkey were shaken and, fortunately for the home crowd, stirred into action.

After fighting back, Turkey found themselves holding a slender advantage (49-48) with 3:56 to go in the third quarter when they reclaimed control with a surge which saw them score seven straight points in just under three minutes.

By the end of the third quarter, the hosts led 58-50. The lead ballooned to 17 points in the fourth quarter before Serbia & Montenegro made the scoreline more respectable.

The visitors could not have asked for a worse build-up to the tournament, with a coaching change taking place in the weeks before the start here in Turkey.

Zoran Kovacic, who led the country's team at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Tunisia to a silver medal, was called on to replace coach Zoran Visic and first assistant Miroslav Popov.

Kovacic will be looking for a better result on Saturday when his players take on Lithuania, while Turkey have to face defending champions Russia.

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