05 October, 2022
12 April, 2023
10 Isil Alben (GALA)
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Alben: ''We dream of lifting the trophy together with our fans''

ISTANBUL (Turkey) - The prospect of Isil Alben becoming a three-time EuroCup Women winner with Galatasaray Cagdas Factoring on her home court and in front of her adoring supporters is an alluring one.

You would not back against it happening since the Galatasaray club legend has been the one constant factor in all of the most memorable and historic accomplishments of the Istanbul giants.

Their greatest hour came when they became the first Turkish club to win EuroLeague Women silverware in 2014. It came five years after becoming the first Turkish team to win EuroCup Women, too.


Now they stand on the brink of becoming only the second team in the history of the competition to make it three titles - having also won in 2009 and 2018.

"Our goal is to win EuroCup Women," said Alben ahead of this year's Finals with LDLC ASVEL Feminin.

"We will be playing against a really good team and we want to return from there with a win. Our fans have a great mission in the game we will play at home. Galatasaray fans are always where they should be.

"We are expecting everyone at the Sinan Erdem Sports Hall on April 12 and we dream of lifting the trophy together with all of our 15,000 fans."

The chance to finish the job on their home court evokes memories of that first landmark title success in 2009 when that dream scenario happened.

Facing Cras Basket Taranto, Galatasaray went down 67-55 in the first leg of the Finals in Italy. However, in the return game, they won in regulation by 12 points and then wrapped up a pulsating 82-61 success in overtime.

Alben played 36 minutes and contributed 10 points, while Seimone Augustus starred with 17 points and Sophia Young added 27 points - missing just one shot in 41 minutes.

During 2018, it was the other way around as a noisy and huge crowd roared the Istanbul giants to a fantastic 90-68 first leg win against Umana Reyer Venezia.

Once again there were two huge performances, with Allie Quigley scoring a sensational 37 points and Gintare Petronyte adding a wonderful 25 points and 12 rebounds. As for Alben, she handed out a stellar 12 assists.

This preceded a modest seven-point loss in Italy which was nowhere near enough for Reyer, meaning celebrations subsequently took place on the road - something that is never quite as enjoyable as at home.

This time around, the favored scenario from 2009 could be realized again - this time with potentially four times as many Galatasaray fans in the house than 14 years ago.

While all talk has been about Teaira McCowan, there's also been an eye-catching season for Azura Stevens

As always, Alben will play big minutes and is almost guaranteed to make a telling contribution. But who will be the game-winners this time around if it happens? The smart picks would be frontcourt duo Teaira McCowan and Azura Stevens.

Alben and co. probably won't care - as long as they are raising the 2023 EuroCup Women trophy high in front of their supporters and equalling Dynamo Moscow's competition record of three titles.

Yes, home court celebrations with silverware really are unrivalled.