We faced Yakin Dogu in the semi-final of Euroleague, and came out victorious in an epic battle to secure a spot in Sunday's final!
SOPRON BASKET - YAKIN DOGU UNIVERSITESI 68-65 (19-12, 21-18, 16-16, 12-19)
Sopron Basket: Fegyverneky 10/6, Turner 19/6, Crvendakic 10/6, Milovanovic 9/3, Jovanovic 2 Sub.: Salvadores 16/3, Page 2, Dubei -
YAKIN DOGU UNIVERSITESI: Vandersloot 15/3, Eldebrink 7/6, McBride 12/3, Lavender 10, Gruda 3 Sub.: Hollingsworth 11, Cakir 4/3, Caglar 3/3
FGS: 28/68 41% ill. 23/53 43%
3-PTS: 8/23 35% ill. 5/12 42%
FTS: 4/4 100% ill. 14/25 56%
Rebounds: 31 (Crvendakic 11) ill. 40 (Lavender 10)
Assists: 13 (Turner 4) ill. 15 (Vandersloot 5)
Steals: 7 (Milovanovic 3) ill. 4
Turnovers: 9 ill. 17
Blocks: 1 ill. 2
Faults: 25 ill. 13
EFF: 71 (Crvendakic 15) ill. 68 (Lavender 17)
Yakin Dogu won the right for the first possession at the tip-off, and right from the first offense, they scored by Courtney Vandersloot, but Zsófi answered back with her signature mid-range jumper to tie it up and make the crowd erupt. After a triple by Eldebrink the guests were ahead again. Yakin Dogu opened the game with a 7-2 run, before Jeca was able to score (3rd minute 4-7). Tina performed a nice spin move under the rim to get us even closer to our opponent, and after a steal by Yvonne, Jeca gace us the lead! What's more, following Zsófi's demoralising triple, Yakin Dogu had to call a time-out to stop our 9-0 scoring run (5th minute 11-7)! At least that was whta they were trying to do, unsuccessfully! Aleks grabbed an offensive rebound after a missed shot by Jeca and put it back for two! After a four -minute scoring drought Yakin Dogu scored twice from the line to increase the number of their points, but then came Yvonne, who went throught the defense easily for a lay-up, and Angela added two more off the assist by Jeca. In the last few minutes the difference didn't change much, and after ten minutes of play Sopron Basket were in the lead (10th minute 19-12)!
Angela opened the second period with a nice lay-up in traffic, but Lavender answered back likewise, and after a three-point play by Yakin Dogu, Roberto Iniguez decided to call his first time-out in the game (13th minute 21-17). After the break, Angela and Jeca each made a lay-up, and our youn Spanish guard also hit one from behind the arc to force the next away time-out, because for the first time in the game the difference grew into double digits (14th minute 28-17)! Both teams fought hard in this stage of the game, but despite Kayla McBride's four-point play Yakin Dogu were unable to get closer to us (17th minute 36-26). With the help of a couple of free throws, and a possession afterwards awarded after an unsportsmanlike foul, Yakin Dogu came back into the singel-digit region, and that made head coach Roberto Iniguez call a time-out. Instead of coming closer to us, Yakin Dogu turned the ball over to Yvonne, who wouldn't stop until the basket and set the half-time score at a ten-point margin (20th minute 40-30).
After almost three minutes, Danielle was finally able to make the first basket of the third quarter, for two points, and after a double by Yakin Dogu Yvonne hit one from downtown to push her team even further ahead (24th minute 45-32). Zsófi also buried a three-pointer just before the shot clock went off, causing Yakin Dogu to call their next time-out (25th minute 48-32)! The break had proved inefficient, Aleks' shot found its way to the basket from behind the arc, making us just a single point shy of a twenty-point lead! The final minutes of the period were Yakin Dogu's they cut their deficit in half and were facing the last stage of the game trailing by ten points (30th minute 56-46).
The decisive phase began with a double by Angela, but Caglar was able to answer back likewise. Yvonne made the entire crowd go crazy after yet another triple by her, which also forced Yakin Dogu's next time-out (32nd minute 61-48)! The Turkish side were able to score twice in a row, which was enough for head coach Roberto Iniguez to call his team to the bench to talk it over (61-52).The girls were getting more and more tired heading into the last minutes of the game and Yakin Dogu took advantage of it, with four minutes on the clock our lead was only as big as a triple's worth (37th minute 61-58). What's more, after the basket by McBride, and a coule of free throws by Hollingsworth Yakin Dogu took over the lead (61-62). In the next minute the lead went back and forth between the two sides, and after a double by Yakin Dogu cam a time-out for Sopron (39th minute 63-64). Yakin Dogu were able to tie the game at 65, but Jeca made a huge triple with 1.2 seconds remaining on the clock, and gave us the lead! WE ARE THROUGH TO THE EUROLEAGUE FINAL (40th minute 68-65)!
Roberto Iniguez: I am very proud of my team! I've never had a team that worked as hard as them under my control. I am on their backs every single day pushing them forward. They deserve this final a lot. We have to learn from the last minutes, of course, but giving up that big lead had more reasons. We were starting to get tired, we have many young players, we are thin under the basket, but fortunately we made good decisions in key moments. MAny people didn't believe in us, they thought that we wouldn't have a chance tonight, but these people haven't seen us play a single game this season. This will be my fifth Euroleague final, but for me this will be my favourite.
Jelena Milovanovic: We had a very tough last ten minutes. We lost track mentally as well. We were winning against a team as talented as Yakin Dogu, and this opportunity made us insecure. I also needed luck when shooting that last shot at the end, which I lacked before. We are very happy, I feel like we deserved the win! This is the best day of my life on club level!
Zafer Kalaycioglu: Congratulations to Sopron, they have done an excellent job on the way here, and tonight as well. They played and fought tonight the way they have in the entire season. We missed too many free throws, which was one of the keys to our loss. I wish our opponent the best of luck in the final!
Sandrine Gruda: It is not easy to talk having had the chance to win. It was a difficult game, our opponents were fantastic, and they controlled most of the game. We woke up by the end, but it wasn't enough for success.