20 September, 2023
14 April, 2024
21 Kayla Mcbride (FENER)
Game Report
to read

McBride on fire as defending champs Fenerbahce outlast Final Four hosts

MERSIN (Türkiye) - Holders Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding are closer to holding onto their precious EuroLeague Women crown after an absorbing 89-80 Semi-Finals success against Cukurova Basketbol Mersin.

Taking the honors in an all-Turkish affair that was played out in front of an intense atmosphere, the Istanbul juggernauts will defend their title against Villeneuve d'Ascq LM in Sunday's Final after inflicting heartache on the Final Four hosts.

Turning Point:
The contest was tied up at 76-76 with four minutes remaining and with the home side having found some rhythm and the fans turning up the noise. However, Fenerbahce responded with a killer 9-0 run that included a big triple from the ever-impressive Kayla McBride.

Game Heroes:
McBride made some seriously huge shots in the contest and was a cool customer in the white-hot heat of the battle. The guard showed she is clutch and eventually finished with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Meanwhile there were many other nice contributions, including 17 points from Emma Meesseman and a double-double of 15 points and 11 boards from Nikolina Milic.

"It's an amazing feeling playing for Fenerbahce," said McBride after the game. "It has changed my life in so many ways, it's one of the best clubs in the world so to be able to put this jersey on means so much to me. To be in the Final again with Fenerbahce across my chest is a dream come true. I am really excited about Sunday and I hope we come out on top."

Stats Don't Lie: The difference in three-point shooting percentages was huge, with Fenerbahce dropping an eye-catching 8 of 15, while Cukurova struggled from downtown and only made 5 of 25.

Bottom Line: Fenerbahce were made to work hard for their victory and probably gave up too many buckets compared to what their game plan probably was. However, all that mattered was the win. McBride was superb and when tested by a raucous home crowd, it was the entire team that showed up. Milic for example is not necessarily a headline player as such, but she was terrific and typified this. Scarily, Fenerbahce might be saving their best until last.

Cukurova had to manage a lot in the game, including an early injury to Kahleah Copper which sidelined her for a while. But they probably settled to quickly and too often for the three-point shot. When they went more inside, they had success and were still in the game until the last few minutes, but it was not to be.

They said: "It was a tough game in a difficult atmosphere but we expected it. It is always like this between Mersin and Fenerbahce. At the end of the game, my players handled it like a killer. I have a lot of amazing and competitive players.We didn't let go during the 40 minutes. We have to look at Villeneuve now. I know they have a lot of athletic qualities and they are very efficient on three-points, so we have to be focused on this." - Valerie Garnier (Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding)

"I just want to thank Mersin. I have been in Turkey for six years and to play in an atmosphere like that, shows just how far they have come. Secondly I am proud of my team. In the big moments we trust each other. I am proud of how we stuck together, but now this is in the past. Villeneuve are tough as hell. A lot of people see them as the underdog, but I don't. It is going to be a fight and I am excited for Sunday." - Kayla McBride (Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding)

"It hurts. I think that we went out there and played 40 hard minutes of basketball. So I am proud of us in that regard,. We got a bit sloppy there in the last five minutes.I made two bad plays back to back. I want to apologize for that. We kept going and went out there and continued to stay together. We played hard and I have to credit Fenerbahce." - Stephanie Mavunga (Cukurova Basketbol Mersin)

Post Game Press Conference: