OKAN UDO – Fener rebounds to stay alive in TKBL playoffs

Fener rebounds to stay alive in TKBL playoffsFenerbahçe beat Odeabank 81-61 in Game 3 of the Turkish Women’s Basketball League (TKBL) Playoff Finals at ulker Sports Arena Metro Enerji Hall, reducing Galatasaray’s lead to 2-1 in the best-of-five series on Wednesday evening and keeping its title hopes alive. Game 4 will be played at the ulker Sports Arena Metro on Friday. If Fenerbahçe wins, the deciding Game 5 will take place on Monday. However, Galatasaray will be crowned this season’s champion if it triumphs on Friday.The Fenerbahçe football team won the 2013-14 Spor Toto Super League championship on Sunday with three games to go, meaning there won’t be a football match between Fenerbahçe and eternal rival Galatasaray any time soon.But the Fenerbahçe-Galatasaray rivalry is far from over as the two teams are battling for hoops honors in women’s basketball. It is worth mentioning that this is not the first time these two Istanbul powerhouses have locked horns in a basketball final this season.Galatasaray Odeabank beat Fenerbahçe 69-58 in the EuroLeague Women final in Moscow on April 13, crowning them the new queens of European basketball. History was made twice on that day because it not only marked the first time that two Turkish teams have played in a EuroLeague Women final, but it was also the first time that a Turkish team has clinched the coveted European trophy.Home-court aantageGalatasaray finished in the lead during the TKBL regular season and therefore enjoyed a home-court aantage in the playoffs. The hosts won 72-69 in Game 1 at Abdi Ipekçi Sports Hall and 69-59 at the same venue in Game 2.Galatasaray therefore took a 2-0 lead to Game 3 at Fenerbahçe’s ulker Sports Arena on Wednesday and would have swept the series 3-0 if it had won.“Familiarity breeds contempt,” they say. But this time around it might breed respect as Fenerbahçe is in no mood to give up the fight. Playing in front of its home fans, Fenerbahçe rebounded to beat Galatasaray by a huge 20-point margin, sending a timely warning to friend and foe alike that the playoff series may likely go down to the wire.Trailing 2-0, Fenerbahçe knew it needed nothing less than victory on Wednesday and so took the game to Galatasaray from the word go. The first quarter looked even with 24-year-old Spanish shooting guard Alba Torrens delivering points for the visiting team. However, that did not stop the more determined and organized Fenerbahçe from leading 18-17 at the end of this quarter.Fenerbahçe was unstoppable from the second quarter onwards. And with Dutch-Turkish shooting guard Esmeral Özçelik Tunçluer and veteran US guard Cappie Marie Pondexter scoring at will, the host led 45-30 at the end of the second quarter.The third quarter was almost a carbon copy of the first, with Fenerbahçe attacking and Galatasaray offering little resistance. Little wonder this quarter ended 59-46: aantage Fenerbahçe.Fener left nothing to chance in the fourth quarter and mercilessly crushed Galatasaray 81-61 despite the fact that Turkish point guard Birsel VardarlI was fouled out in the 36th minute.“There is nothing to say about our players because they all put up a good fight,” Fenerbahçe’s 46-year-old Spanish coach Roberto Iniguez de Heredia said after Wednesday’s match. “However, we made several easy mistakes and turnovers. But it is also worth praising Galatasaray. To beat them we had to play better and attack more,” he added.In the men’s Beko Turkish Basketball League (TBL) on Wednesday, leader Banvit struggled to beat Anadolu Efes by the slightest of margins, 73-72 at Kara Ali Acar Hall in BandIrma. In other TBL games, PInar KarIIyaka crushed UIak Sportif 93-72 and TofaI hammered cellar Ali AIa Petkim 117-8

SOURCE: Todays Zaman