|08 March 2013|
|Galatasaray head coach Ekrem Memnun can be satisfied with his team's defense, but not with the three-point shooting percentage|
Each weekday in the lead up to the EuroLeague Women Final Eight, fibaeurope.com profiles one of the eight teams who will be appearing in Ekaterinburg. Today we look at Turkish powerhouse Galatasaray.
Road to Final Eight:
Turkish giants Galatasaray lived up to expectations by cruising to the play-offs with a 9-3 record in Group C. They were then made to work hard in their first play-off encounter with ZVVZ USK Prague, eventually prevailing 49-48 in a dramatic game in Istanbul, before seeing out the series with a more comfortable 78-63 win in the Czech capital.
Keep an Eye On:
Losing top scorer and playmaker Lindsay Whalen during the season was a significant blow, but Gala have tried to compensate her departure by strengthening their roster with new signings Lindsey Harding and Eshaya Murphy. Statistically, the trio of Sancho Lyttle, Sylvia Fowles and Ann Wauters lead the charge, with all three averaging over 10 points and five rebounds per game.
The three-point shooting performance of Galatasaray has been dire all season long. This could haunt them if opponents successfully employ a robust and effective zone defence. You get the sense that to be crowned champions, their sensational defensive capabilities will be the launch-pad to realise this dream, but they will have to start making a few shots from downtown to complement their obvious power in the paint via Fowles, Wauters, Lyttle. Perhaps the addition of Murphy can address their impotency from distance. She may not quite be back to her vibrant best after a lengthy lay-off due to injury, but perhaps Spanish national team star Alba Torrens can shine and be the one to spark Gala into life offensively with her energy and ability to run the open floor. Finally, if you can't sink free throws with any kind of acceptable regularity, then you are effectively playing with one hand behind your back and placing unnecessary pressure on yourself in tight games.
Galatasaray are by far the best team defensively, giving up an miserly 56.1 points per game - only two teams in the entire competition allow less than 60 points per game. However, they only shoot 42.6% from the field, which is the second worst of all Final Eight teams and they are by far the very worst three-point shooting team of all participants in Ekaterinburg with a worrying 27.9% per game. Their free-throw shooting percentage is even worse. In fact, it is the poorest in the entire competition at 66.8%.
Crowned EuroCup Women champions during 2009, Galatasaray remain the only Turkish club to have won a major title in international women's competitions. They made their EuroLeague Women debut in the 1991/92 season, with their best result coming in 1999, when they finished third.