McBride: ''Playing for Fenerbahce is one of the best things ever''
ISTANBUL (Turkey) - When the roof of the Ulker Sports Arena almost came off as Kayla McBride put her team ahead in the EuroLeague Women Semi-Final, it was a defining moment for Fenerbahce Safiport's bid to land a first title.
Having labored for much of the game, when that huge three-point shot dropped in the last quarter to finally get the host club back in front, it proved to be a lightning rod for an infectious tidal wave of passion, noise and belief that sunk opponents ZVVZ USK Praha.
"PLAYING FOR FENERBAHCE IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS EVER. IT IS WHAT YOU LIVE FOR. THE ATMOSPHERE WAS CRAZY."
Deafening and electric, those same fans are set to play a massive role in the Final against Sopron Basket if the Turkish juggernauts are to put an end to their agonizing and frustrating wait to be crowned champions.
"For me it's always about being in the moment," said McBride
"I missed a couple of shots at first, but that's who I am for this team and I want to remain confident. As I said, I was trying to live in that moment when I hit the three to put us up by one.
"Playing for Fenerbahce is one of the best things ever. It is what you live for as an athlete. The atmosphere was crazy. We know what this means for this club," she insisted.
So 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥!!! Kayla McBride got so much game too!! TOUGH!!! https://t.co/7itOAHrT3d— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 8, 2022
It was a tricky night for long periods and one time, the home side were on the wrong end of a worrying 20-2 drought. But they came alive at just the right moment and maybe it is a good thing ahead of the title game that the 83-74 Semi-Final success was no cakewalk.
"I was just really proud of how we fought," agreed McBride.
"Obviously the game was up and down and we didn't start well at the beginning. Then in the second and third quarters we didn't play to our potential but it was a team effort. We were fighting and I am really proud of how we fought.
"WE'VE BEEN BUILT FOR THIS MOMENT... WE HAVE 40 MINUTES TO MAKE HISTORY." - McBride
"It is not easy. That's a great team in Prague with great players and they are well coached. But we continued to stick together and that is a testament to our coach and the things that we have been through.
"I am proud of how we played from top to bottom. Everyone had their moments. It was a collective effort and that is the best way to win," she added.
Now they are just one win away from achieving the club's ultimate aim, McBride is adamant that the unity within the camp, alongside the support of the fans will facilitate something special.
She said: "We want to achieve this (title) together. We want to enjoy every part of it together. Cheering for each other, flying around on defense, living in these moments, That is what we do as athletes."
"It always comes down to the mental toughness part. The players that end up winning titles and championships are always the mentally toughest. We've been built for this moment.
"We will also do it as a team. As the season has progressed and as one of the leaders, I have seen us all continually getting closer, understanding each other and having confidence in each other.
"We are a family and we understand that. When we step out for the Final, we are going to have that in mind. We have 40 minutes to make history and we're going to go out and give it our all," concluded McBride.
The historic title-decider between Fenerbahce Safiport and Sopron Basket will take place on Sunday at 16:00 CET.