|12 April 2014|
|"We have already had some success and this is now a another chance for us" - Alba Torrens |
History has already been made at the 2014 EuroLeague Women Final Eight and more will follow when a new champion is crowned on Sunday evening.
The title game sees the first ever all-Turkish final in the tournament and that means Istanbul will welcome home the first Turkish winner of the event.
But, from which side of the iconic Turkish city will the champions hail from and will it be Galatasaray odeabank or Fenerbahce who not only get one over on their fierce rivals, but also get the added bonus of entering their name into women's basketball history?
Alba Torrens did more than anyone to get Galatasaray into the final with her breathtaking 29-point performance against UMMC Ekaterinburg and the Spanish star was quick to underline the scale of the achievement.
"It was such a big and incredible moment for Galatasaray to beat a team like UMMC," she mused.
"I think more than anything it was not about me, but only the team and it showed what a very good season we are having together.
"We have already had some success and this is now a another chance for us.
"When we lost Sancho (Lyttle) with an injury in the semi-final, all the guys did an unbelievable job.
"Playing Fenerbahce also shows the strength of the Turkish League and I think [Turkey] can be proud of the results in EuroLeague Women this season."
Torrens of course has already won the EuroLeague Women title in her career. To be more precise, she won it on the exact same floor with another underdog in Perfumerias Avenida and also scooped the MVP award three years ago.
As for Fenerbahce, they have the likes of Isabelle Yacoubou and Agnieszka Bibrzycka who know what it is like to finish with a winners medal.
|Cappie Pondexter can ill-afford a similar shooting night to that which she displayed in the semi-final|
Meanwhile Turkish national team playmaker Birsel Vardarli is looking forward to a second bite at trying to become a champion after losing in the final last year and she can't wait to play in yet another derby game.
"I really want to beat them," said the guard emphatically.
Now stepping out in her eighth straight EuroLeague Women season with Fenerbahce, the 29-year-old also highlighted the final is a credit not only to both clubs, but also to women's basketball in Turkey.
"Every week it is so difficult for us having to play against other teams in the Turkish League because it has improved so much," she reiterated.
"Of course there is no bigger game for both teams, but I think this final will also be important to every women's basketball club in Turkey."
Sunday's showpiece finale will also see the title game contested without a Russian team for only the second time in a decade.
Key match-up: Cappie Pondexter was excellent defensively in the semi-final but had a stone cold zero-of-eight on offence. She is unlikely to have another off night production-wise and may go up against either Isil Alben if on playmaking duties, or the dangerous Shavonte Zellous.
‘X-factors': The biggest one is likely to be whether Sancho Lyttle can play and if so, for how many minutes and how effectively? As both coaches have alluded to, the game is likely to be decided by detail or key moments because they are normally tight. The one difference is arguably offensive rebounding which Galatasaray do very well and boxing out by Fenerbahce will need to be a no-brainer.