Turkey fails to rebound as Serbia march to semis

KENNY LAURIE @kennylaurie
ISTANBUL
Published 25.06.2015 22:21
Updated 25.06.2015 22:25
Şaziye İvegin, left,and Bahar Çağlar, right, of Turkey challenge Sonja Petrovic of Serbia for the ball.
Şaziye İvegin, left,and Bahar Çağlar, right, of Turkey challenge Sonja Petrovic of Serbia for the ball.

Turkey's women crashed out of EuroBasket, falling to a more aggressive Serbia team led by Ana Dabovic

Turkey crashed out of the EuroBasket women's 2015 tournament Wednesday night as they fell to a hot shooting night from Ana Dabovic in a 75-63 loss in the quarter-finals in Budapest. Serbia exacted revenge on the Turkish women who knocked them out of the World Championships last year, which were held in Turkey.

The Serbs raced away in the third quarter and a 3-pointer from Dubovic at 54-47, as close as Turkey would get late on, killed the game.

After nailing her first 3-pointer early in the first quarter from the top of the arc, Dabovic was simply unstoppable. From that first basket to the near-half-court 3-pointer in the dying seconds with the game won, the Serb dominated the proceedings with one of the performances of the tournament so far.

Turkey's national team head coach Ekrem Memnun acknowledged after the game that Serbia had been the more ambitious side and that his team cannot expect to win when giving up 19 offensive rebounds.

"The difference between the two teams was determined by rebounds," Memnun said. "Serbs worked to be more ambitious than us. They had 19 offensive rebounds, but we played with a 53 percent average. I congratulate them."

The rebounds brought up one of the interesting statlines of the night. Turkey shot a superb 53 percent from the field all game while Serbia slumped to a miserable 38 percent. Due to the second-chance points garnered by offensive rebounds, Serbia were still able to hit 24 shots to Turkey's 25 while attempting nearly a third more shots from the field.

Turkish player Olcay Çakır said: "We could not play the way that we wanted against Serbia. Their game plan is designed for attacking, ours [for] defense. Our rivals could attack as much as possible [as] they wished. However, we could not play defense properly and lost the game." With Turkey now out of the reckoning, all the team can aim for is a fifth-place finish in order to participate in the Olympic qualifications.

If Turkey can win two classification matches, they will be ranked fifth in Europe and will be able to compete in qualifications for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Serbia, however, celebrated an Olympic berth and a chance to reach the final when they play Belarus in the semifinals today.

"I want to congratulate my team with all my heart," Serbia coach Marina Maljkovic said. "Despite some bad losses and poor-quality basketball [during] a couple of games, they really showed today that they always play with heart - just like the heart that is the logo of this tournament. We have accomplished our first goal by winning this game [and making the Olympic Qualifying Tournament]. We really played as a team and so there is no reason for us to stop playing in this kind of way. We saw what the rebounds can offer us with 19 offensive boards and we also only had 13 turnovers, which is acceptable."

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