First Euroleague Championship for Galatasaray

Galatasaray are the 2014 Euroleague Women champions after defeating local rivals Fenerbahce 69-58 in Yekterinburg.

 

After leading 26-7 at the end of one period, the writing looked to be on the wall for Fenerbahce, who were defending their 18-game unbeaten run in the competition and looking for win number 19 that would give them the title. They fought back though as the game progressed but their Istanbul rivals, based on the European side of the city looked in control throughout. They knew the title was heading their way.

Sancho Lyttle recovered from her ankle injury sustained in the shock semi-final win over UMMC Ekaterinburg to lead Galatasaray with 19 points and 12 rebounds on the night. But it was Sebnem Kimyacioglu who won it with two clutch three-pointers in the fourth to ensure victory, and give Fenerbahce a feeling of déjà vu as they lose a Euroleague Women’s Final for the second straight year.

Alba Torrens was named Euroleague Women Final Eight MVP, mainly due to her showing against UMMC in the semi-finals.

“We knew this game was likely to come down to who made the big shots and even when we had a big lead we knew they were a team capable of coming back and they did,” said Kimyacioglu.

“My coach [Ekrem Memnun] trusted me and put me into the game at an important time.

“In those moments I just found myself free and on the first one, I just laughed to myself when it went in because I don’t think I had made a three in the whole tournament.

“That just gave me the confidence when the next one came along and I guess it’s right to say they were the biggest two shots of my career.”

There was no denying the result though Galatasaray deserved this. They stretched their lead out to 21 points at one point before an Angel McCoughtry-led Fenerbahce fightback pulled it to within 7 points.

Then Kimyacioglu stepped up to hit the biggest shots in her career.

Cappie Pondexter paced Fenerbahce with 18 points. A near perfect season, but tumbled at the final hurdle.

Photo: FIBA Europe