Lithuania took a step towards the quarter-finals in a wide open EuroBasket Women Group B in Izmir on Sunday night, defeating home side Turkey 82-76.
The top four teams in the group are all 2-1 after 3 games, while Turkey are still within reach of the quarter-finals in 5th place.
The Turks lost a close game to Russia on Saturday evening, and the contest against Lithuania was just as tight.
|Vaida Zagurskyte |
The Lithuanians had the game in a stranglehold after a close first half and a strong finish to the third period saw them take a 62-53 lead into the final quarter.
When Lithuania opened the fourth quarter with a Rima Valentiene trey, Turkey trailed 66-53 and looked out of contention.
But the Turkish side have been nothing but passionate in this tournament, and they chipped away at the Lithuanian lead, cutting it to one point (75-74) on a three-point play from Nilay Yigit with just 90 seconds remaining.
Just as in the preceeding Spain - Russia match, both Lithuania and Turkey stepped up in the clutch.
Lina Brazdeikyte nailed two free throws for Lithuania and Turkey answered with a jump shot from Nenad Yilmaz.
Vaida Zagurskyte hit for Lithuania, and when Birsel Vardarli missed a jump shot with 33 seconds on the clock, Turkish coach Cem Akdag was forced into taking a timeout.
Then Lithuania came up with a killer blow.
Sandra Valuzyte knifed through the Turkish defense for a lay-up which gave her side a 5-point lead, enough for the win.
Eglé Sulciuté had a game high 17 points for a Lithuanian side that shot a sizzling 9/15 (60%) from three-point range.
Turkey will now take on Romania and Spain in their two remaining contests and will need to win at least one of those games if they want to advance to the quarter-finals.