Turkish Women Basketball League TKBL, Week 17

galatasaray fenerbahce tkbl week 17

Galatasaray 65-81 Fenerbahce, Report from Abdi Ipekçi, Istanbul

Well, whether it is the match between the women sides or men’s, nothing really changes. Galatasaray-Fenerbahce is just the derby of Turkey. Galatasaray started the season with greater expectations, however, right now, their eternal rivals have a better look.

Although both teams had 2 losses before this match in their domestic schedule, Fenerbahce had the superior account in Euroleague campaing plus they managed to beat Galatasaray once.  Therefore and in order to avoid another loss in TKBL against Fenerbahce, the home side GS, had to win.

Abdi Ipekçi was half-full but really hostile of course.Galatasaray have their casulties, Pecheiro and Alba is absent. Fenerbahce prefered to sit Elena Babkina- on the bench because of the foreigner limitation. What a league really? Is it not WNBA but just TKBL.

From the beginning to the end, there were certain things that did not change. First comes the tension. The supporters did not calm down for a minute and they gave their enthusiasim to the court. Pressure down on especially the home side GS and the referees.

May be that made refrees some anxious to catch some the calls or ‘over-sensitive’ for the others. We don’t know the actual reason for the bad management of match but they  made the match harder one must say. Although most of their calls were right, they made mistakes just at the crucial times and instances.

That made both teams cry for justice and the supporters showed their anger in abusiive ways. The players’ of both teams did not like the decisions, Diana Taurasi once laughed in the face of the referee after a foul call and Angel McCoughtry was so mad that she  tried to burst back to supporters.

Both coaches and managers walk to the table, trying to justify their objective mood. GS guard Isil Alben tried to make the job of the referees after congratulating one of them in a kindly manner after one call that was against her. That was sports-women like and honourable behaviour although came in vain.

One thing that  we can say for sure is that Fenerbahce (FB) had the control throughtout the match. Although the score was even until the last quarter, the game strategy of Fenerbahce, their stickiness to that plan and the execution was simply better than Galatasaray, both in offense and defense.

FB started with Birsel Vardarli at point and two forwards;Penny Taylor-Angel McCoughtry were their first set-to-set offense option. The veteran center Nevriye Yilmaz, occasionally get to the top of the arc to distribute the ball to the right player. When that system did not work, either Nevriye or the other center, Ivana Matovic turned their back to the rim and played post-up routines.

However, the actual damage was given in transition offenses. The offensive strategy of Galatasaray -or  at least the execution of it-  was very one dimensional. The main actors were Tina Charles, Sylvia Fowles and Diana Taurasi. Charles was the main partner of Taurasi in pick&rolls and other short way upper cuts but Fowles was more contributive to the score.

That was all. Isil Alben, the point guard, Epiphany Prince, the star guard or Bahar Caglar the national team forward  was  nearly pacified. Of course, the bad individual performance of Taurasi was not a coincidence because the coach of Fenerbahce, Apparently, Dikeoulakos nearly memorized all of the sets of their rivals. Alben showed the play with her gestures to her team, Coach D recognizes and shows which D to play to against the relevant set.

Their defense, was mainly different kinds of matchup zones and that made Taurasi mad. She is a winner but sometimes to be the winner, you need to know where to retreat. She scored 20 points but with 3/12 2 pts. and 1/8 3 pts. rates. And guess what happened with all those shots came back from the rim? Fast break and transitions. Angel McCoughtry was the woman who loved that climate. One thing made GS to catch FB until last quarter: offensive boards. 14 offensive rebounds is just too much.

Galatasaray did well in  defense at the last quarter after a timeout. They attacked the ball with a high pressure/half court man-to-man defense but somehow they did not stick to the strategy even though they managed to stop FB. Instead, at last minutes, coach Yildizoglu preferred 2-3 zone and that was the suicide against a team that has good 3 pointers, who is moving the ball the very well and who makes a lot of cuts.

How could Galatasaray win? Well, last night at a Eurocup match, I saw the main scoring option of CEZ Nymburk, Tre Simmons, sit on the bench during  the whole forth quarter against Valencia Basket. Why? Because he was just wasting the ball counting on  his superior skills. Guess what?

The 10 point difference diminished and in the end, Nymburk lost the match with just one last second unsuccessful shoot attempt. The defensive weakness of Nevriye-Matovic duo was exposed from last year and that was the reason that Fenerbahce did not go the F4 in Euroleague.

Even in this match, Fowles and Charles exposed this fact again. So i didn’t understand why Galatasaray make Taurasi sit, at least for a while and concentrate on secure low post plays plus a full court press. Anyways, Fenerbahce was simply better and deserves to be the leader of TKBL.

Photo: sporx.com

Galatasaray 65-81 Fenerbahce, Report from Abdi Ipekçi, Istanbul