|Yelena Leuchanka has both literally and figuratively been the center of Belarus' success. Stopping her will go a long way to taking Turkey to victory|
By Paul Nilsen
In the only EuroBasket Women 2013 quarter-final clash which sees both teams coming off the back of losses, Belarus and Turkey go head-to-head and try to get back on the winning trail to claim a place in the last four of the competition.
Key Match Up: Quanitra Hollingsworth has had a strange tournament in many ways. She started off in a rich vein of form, but then seems to have been knocked out of her stride a little, after being called for a number of offensive fouls in the last few games. Her finishing at the hoop has not been as sharp but she is a real quality player and will need to show this during a game which will be a big test for her. That's because the main threat from Belarus will come from center pairing Anastasiya Verameyenka and Yelena Leuchanka, with the latter looking particularly effective right now. They will be looking to dominate Hollingsworth and Nevriye Yilmaz.
Key Stat: Belarus are averaging 17.2 turnovers-per-game. This is a worrying statistic heading into a game where their opponents backcourt is blessed with speed and an eye for steals and fast break scores.
X-Factors: It looks like quite a clash of styles in this game as Turkey try to nullify the physical presence of Belarus and permeate their considerable defensive presence in the paint. On the flip-side, Belarus will have to counter the quickness of the Turkish guards and lengthy rotation which means their ball handlers will be under severe pressure for the entire game. This places a big onus on Aliaksandra Tarasava to have an assured game at point guard and even more so on those who take over ball-handling responsibilities when she sits down. Additionally, Belarus have not been reaching 60 points-per-game, so slugging it out in a half-court game is more preferable as far as they are concerned. Good shot selection and successfully jamming the ball to slow Turkey down in transition, will be the gold dust for Belarus.
From The Camps:
"We can do much better than we did against France [in the second half]. We need to stay together and keep pushing through with our tactics, as we showed in the first and second quarters" - Belarus head coach Rimantas Grigas believes his side must repeat their first-half display against the French to prevail against Turkey.
"We know Belarus and we know they are missing a point guard so we will put our tough game on them and play fast. They are big team and experienced, so we have to make our shots" - Turkish veteran guard Tugba Palazoglu.