|08 December 2011|
Galatasaray returned to Group A summit in the EuroLeague Women on Thursday with a 75-67 home triumph over ZVVZ USK Prague.
The Turkish club relied on the offense of Diana Taurasi and Tina Charles, who scored 26 and 25 points, respectively, to post their eighth victory in nine games.
Ceyhun Yildizoglu's team is now a game ahead of Ros Casares (7-2), who suffered a 73-72 upset at VICI Aistes on Wednesday, and two clear of UMMC Ekaterinburg (6-3).
Prague, who fell to 5-4, are in fourth place with Bourges Basket (4-5) right behind them.
The top four teams in each of the three Round 1 groups, and the two best fifth-place sides, will progress to the next phase.
There are still several games in Round 1.
Galatasaray started fast and looked as if they were going to run Prague out of the building.
Taurasi had already poured in 10 points and Charles seven when Gala led 25-11 with 6:53 to play in the first half.
Prague's Eva Viteckova didn't score until a minute remained before the break with a jumper on a fast-break to trim the home side's lead to 33-26.
The visitors' confidence grew when Frida Eldebrink connected from long range at the end of the half to reduce Gala's lead to 35-29.
Twice early in the third quarter, Prague pulled to within four after made jump shots by Ilona Burgrova and Delisha Milton-Jones.
Katerina Elhotova's three-pointer and then two Milton-Jones free-throws cut the Gala advantage to 39-38.
When Viteckova nailed her only three-ball, the game was tied at 41-41.
Not long after, Taurasi struck from behind the arc to snap a 43-43 tie and put the Turks back on top.
They extended the lead to seven, only for Lubor Blazek's side to come back and three times pull to within one in the fourth quarter.
Katerina Elhotova's three - her third of the contest - made it 60-59, but Charles answered with a jumper.
Burgrova followed with a lay-up to leave Gala clinging to a 62-61 advantage.
Epiphanny Prince replied for the hosts.
Then Anna Montanana made a fast-break lay-up and trimmed the deficit to 64-63, however, Charles went to the other end and made a jump shot to push the lead back to three and then added two free-throws on her team's ensuing possession.
Galatasaray went in front by nine again before settling for an eight-point triumph.
Leading the winners' defensively was Isil Alben, who had a game-high seven steals.
Elhotova had 15 points, Milton-Jones 13 and Montanana 12.
Charles had a game-high 10 rebounds for Galatasaray while Milton-Jones pulled down nine for Prague.