Stewart sinks Schio as Fenerbahce make fifth Final
PRAGUE (Czech Republic) - Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding are one step away from realizing their title dreams after Breanna Stewart inspired a 77-70 Semi-Finals success against underdogs Beretta Famila Schio.
The American star was on fire as her team racked up a 15th consecutive victory. However, the Istanbul giants didn't have it all their own way and had to work hard to see off a gutsy Schio who caused plenty of problems, including leading at half-time and briefly threatening a late comeback.
Turning point: Fenerbahce struggled to impose themselves during the opening 20 minutes and with Schio ahead 40-36 at the break, it seemed almost inevitable that there would be a third quarter storm. It arrived without much delay, Fenerbahce improving significantly at both ends of the floor. A 13-0 run turned the game on its head, sparked very much by their aggressive defense.
Game hero(es): The big show from Breanna Stewart headlined as she harvested 24 points and 11 rebounds, while there were also two excellent supporting performances from Emma Meesseman and Courtney Vandersloot. The former finished the contest with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals, with Vandersloot completing a double-double of 11 points and 11 assists. Meanwhile Jasmine Keys lit it up for Schio with 19 points in defeat.
Stats Don't Lie: There was a major gulf inside the paint with Fenerbahce scoring a massive 54 points compared to just 18 for Schio, who also had too many turnovers with 21.
Bottom line: Fenerbahce were very average in the first-half and several players looked nervous. Too many missed layups and turnovers hurt them and they looked a different proposition after the interval. More energetic on defense and effective in transition, they turned the screw and found the kind of form that their fans were hoping to see. If Fenerbahce play like they did after half-time, their title dreams are likely to come true, but if they perform like they did in the first half, another disappointment may be incoming.
The fairytale ends for Schio in terms of a first piece of silverware although they can hold their heads up high after stretching Fenerbahce for long periods - including threatening a late comeback. They can also still focus on a potential first ever Final Four game win when they head into the Third Place game on Sunday.
"Congratulations to Schio. They have very talented players. We had a terrible first half of the game, but in the third quarter we started playing the basketball we practise every single day and it looked very different. With just 1 minute of the way we played in the first half in the Final then we might as well go home to Istanbul now." Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding head coach, Marina Maljkovic
"Respect to Schio. They are here for a reason and they battled with us from start to finish. In thre third and fourth quarter, we were able to get into our groove and turn defense into offense. Our goal was to win the EuroLeague Women title and now have an opportunity to do that." Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding forward, Breanna Stewart
"We know that it would be a tough game. I think we played really well. We just lost a little bit of energy in the third quarter. But I am proud of how we played and how we faced this game." Beretta Famila Schio forward, Jasmine Keys.
"We want to show everybody we did not come as tourists. We didn't manege to take this first one, but we will come back for the next game more wise. We had a very bad third quarter with many turnvoers and it gave them a lot of fast breaks and easy points. That was the key. But we have to be proud of the game that we played." Beretta Famila Schio head coach, Georgios Dikaioulakos.