|Lara Sanders led the way for Kayseri with a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double|
An already impressive first EuroLeague Women season for Kayseri Kaski spor will now be even more memorable after a dramatic 63-61 success against Beretta Famila Schio handed them a ticket for the Final Eight.
Extending their excellent home record to a stunning six consecutive victories, the Turkish club sneaked the win they needed amidst almost unbearable tension during crunch time, to make it to the climax of the competition at the first time of asking.
Lara Sanders has so often led the way and she didn't disappoint with a terrific 21 points and 11 rebounds, as well as coming up with the pivotal play of the entire game when she pulled down an offensive rebound with eight seconds remaining.
It had looked like Kayseri might struggle to make home advantage pay during the early stages when buoyed from winning the second meeting, Schio found themselves in the ascendency.
A Laura Macchi free-throw made it 31-21 in the second quarter, but the double-digit lead was soon to evaporate as the Italian side pressed the self-destruct button with a series of turnovers leading up to the break.
Kayseri needed no second invitation and completed a flurry of fast-break scores to cut the gap to a point heading to the locker rooms. And, Tanisha Wright completed the comeback by handing them the lead when the action resumed.
The newcomers then gained the upper hand and looked like they might take a comfortable win when they jumped 57-48 in front.
But, Schio rallied and Erlana Larkins reduced the deficit, to three points, with three minutes to play.
However, in a nerve-wracking conclusion, Kayseri clung on to collect a famous victory, denying Schio overtime or a win by picking up two precious offensive boards in the closing moments.
Wright added 19 points and seven rebounds for the winning team, with Larkins and Courtney Vandersloot each scoring 12 points in defeat.
Kayseri Head Coach Ayhan Avci
"Congratulations to my team, my players, my city. It's not over. It has just started. We will work hard and we will show our power."
Kayseri Player Tanisha Wright
"We didn't play good but winning is winning. We will work hard for the Final Eight."
Schio Head Coach Miguel Mendez
"Congratulations to Kayseri. They have a good coach, good players and good fans. It is hard to play an away game; it's a big advantage to play on the home court."