Turkey have booked their spot at next month’s Olympics following a 72-58 win over Argentina in Ankara.
The hosts were always comfortable against a normally strong Argentina side who looked off the pace and now must win their remaining two games in order to join Croatia, Czech Republic and Turkey in London. This win marks the third win for Europe with Canada, Japan and Argentina all on Olympic life support.
Neriye Yilmaz led Turkey with 17 points, supported by Tugba Palazoglu’s 13. Argentina were led by 17 points from Melisa Gretter.
From the opening tip, Turkey stated their claim for an Olympic place racing to an 11-0 run, holding the South Americans scoreless for just under six minutes. The hosts had a commanding 14-8 first quarter lead.
Things went from bad to worse for Argentina, as Turkey raced to a 35-15 lead at half-time thanks to easy buckets inside. The near 7,000 pro-Turkey crowd in Ankara were already starting to celebrate.
Argentina, to their credit, hung in there in the second half, scoring in transition and a good understanding on team defence as they narrowed the gap slightly, but were still down double digits, 55-40 after three.
Turkey held on in the fourth as both teams traded buckets for the majority of the last ten minutes as Turkey’s players and fans celebrated at the buzzer.
For Argentina, they now play Canada tomorrow (Saturday) knowing that if they lose, they’re out.