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TURKEY 2014: Turkey prevail in thriller over France on opening day
ANKARA/ISTANBUL (FIBA World Championship for Women) - Hosts Turkey took their fans on an exciting, triumphant ride on the opening day of the FIBA World Championship for Women.
Isil Alben made a go-ahead three-pointer late in the fourth quarter to lift the Turks to a 50-48 Group B win over France in Ankara.
In the same pool, Canada broke open a tight game in the third quarter and beat Mozambique, 69-54.
Istanbul was the venue for the other eight teams in the competition.
In Group C, Australia rolled to a 90-57 victory over Cuba and Belarus edged Korea, 70-64, while in Group D, Serbia blew away Angola, 102-42, and the USA beat China, 87-56.
The contest that had everyone in Turkey sitting on the edge of their seats from start to finish was the one between the Turks and French.
Trailing by 10 points at half-time, Turkey clawed their way back in the third quarter and went ahead at 36-35 after a three-pointer by Nevriye Yilmaz.
The contest remained close for the entire fourth quarter.
When the French got a three-point play by Emilie Gomis just 1:58 from the death, they had a 48-47 advantage but just over a minute later and Alben struck with the three-ball that proved decisive.
France's Gomis and Celine Dumerc missed opportunities to pull level before time expired.
Canada only had a 35-32 lead over Mozambique at half-time but outscored the African team 18-10 in the third quarter and won comfortably in the end.
Last year's EuroBasket MVP Sancho Lyttle had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Spain in their victory over Japan, while Alena Hanusova poured in 15 for the Czechs in their victory over Brazil.
In the most exciting game in Istanbul, Korea threw a scare into Belarus.
The Far East team opened up a 14-point lead early in the second quarter but Belarus stormed back and took a 32-30 advantage to half-time.
When Belarus buried four three-balls early in the third quarter to go in front by 21, they appeared to be in total command but a late run from Korea reduced the arrears to 55-45 with 10 minutes remaining.
Heejin Choi hit fourt three-pointers, including two early in the fourth quarter, as Korea pulled closer.
Belarus kept their noses in front but a steal and lay-up by Jihyun Shin cut the advantage to 67-64 with just eight seconds remaining.
After a Belarus timeout, Katsiaryna Snytsina made a three-ball to ice the victory.
Penny Taylor scored 18 of her 20 points in the first half as Australia opened up a big lead against Cuba.
The MVP of the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women finished with a game-high 20 points for the Opals.
The United States faced a very determined China and led only 39-32 at half-time but stamped their authority on the contest in the third quarter and won decisively.
Brittney Griner and Maya Moore each had 15 points. Griner even had a dunk in the first quarter for the Americans.