BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Sancho Lyttle was once more influential in the big moments for Galatasaray|
Monday evening was an epic one for Galatasaray odeabank after they sealed the most productive season in their history by ending a 13-year wait to land the Turkish League Championship.
In front of massive crowd which was reported as being 14,000-strong inside the Abdi Ipekci Arena, Galatasaray handed the jubilant fans more silverware as they climbed to the top of the TKBL podium for the first time since 2000.
Following on from their Turkish Cup success earlier this year and a maiden EuroLeague Women title at the Final Eight last month, it was another special night for head coach Ekrem Memnun and his players.
As if the occasion wasn't already euphoric enough, they were able to gain additional satisfaction by once again defeating arch rivals Fenerbahce, just as they did in Ekaterinburg and in the Turkish Cup Final.
Having been two up in the five game series, Galatasaray had been under pressure after Fenerbahce had won both of their home games to level matters, but a whirlwind start in the decisive encounter had the hosts with one hand on the trophy inside the opening minutes.
Racing into a 17-3 lead and dominant from the outset much like they were in the final last month in Russia, Galatasaray sensed it was to be their night and pushed hard on the accelerator.
Storming past the 20-point lead marker and racking up an advantage as high as 32 points at one juncture, they strolled to a 73-54 success in a decidedly one-sided affair.
For Turkish legend Nevriye Yilmaz it was a familiar feeling as she took her ninth TKBL title and her first with Galatasaray, having ironically spent the bulk of her career with Fenerbahce, whose eight-year streak of titles came crashing to an abrupt and painful end.
Yilmaz sunk 15 points in the contest, while Spanish national team duo Sancho Lyttle and Alba Torrens were the other main contributors. The former had a double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds, while EuroLeague Women MVP, Torrens registered a game-high 21 points.
Playmaker Isil Alben was also highly influential once again and showed her qualities to help her team complete a magnificent and unforgettable treble-winning season.