Sunday, March 28, 2010

Galatasaray Wins Turkish Cup With Help of Leuchanka

Yelena Leuchanka and Sophia Young celebrate.

I knew that the Turkish teams weren't playing in the regular season this week, but I didn't know why. Of course, in order to find out why you had to be able to do the kind of navigation of international basketball that P. D. Swanson does over at Rebkell. Apparently, there was a Turkish Cup in the women's league over the weekend, which resulted in the regular season taking a week off.

The 18th Women's Cup involved eight teams: Besitkas, Ceyhan, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Istanbul University, Kayseri, Mersin, and Samsun. Play started on Friday with a single-elimination quarterfinals, the semifinals took place on Saturday and the final match took place today.

Galtasaray - Yelena Leuchanka's team - got off to a good start with a 84-59 whalloping of Ceyhan. No stats from that game, other than those Swanny was able to provide: Leuchanka only scored two points in a game marked by Tamika Catchings scoring 16 and Sophia Young scoring 15 in the victory.

The next day - Saturday - Galatasaray faced Mersin in the semifinals. You might remember Mersin as the home of ex-Dream player Ivory Latta. Galatasaray won the game 74-64 despite Latta pouring in 21 points for Mersin. Katie Douglas scored 19 points and six rebounds for Galatasaray, and Catchings and Young each scored 13.

Leuchanka woke up for this game. She scored nine points and 10 rebounds in just 17 minutes. Galatasaray moved on to face Turkish women's basketball power Fenerbahce in the Turkish Cup final.

In the finals, Galatasaray got a close win against Fenerbahce, 57-55 to win the Turkish Cup. The game started out very close, with Fenerbahce edging out to a 20-17 lead after the first ten minutes. The second quarter was a real slog, with Fenerbahce scoring only seven points...and Galatasaray only scoring six. Fenerbahce took a 27-23 lead into halftime.

In the third quarter, Galatasaray began their comeback. It took all of the third quarter for Galatasaray to overcome the deficit, scoring the final points of the quarter to lead 45-43 at the end of the thirty minutes and insuring a fourth-quarter battle.

Galatasaray took a 53-48 point lead at one point in the final quarter but a Penny Taylor 3-pointer scored the score to 53-51. Leuchanka would be the next scorer for Galatasaray, and Galatasaray's defense would hold as they got the surprising cup victory.

Yelena Leuchanka was named the Most Valuable Player of the cup - once Leuchanka got warmed up, she was hard to stop. She scored 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting and picked up four rebounds in just 20 minutes of play. Her 14 points led all players in the final match.

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