Euphoria for Turkey as hosts jump into last four
ISTANBUL (FIBA World Championship for Women) - There were scenes of jubilation for Turkey after overturning a double digit deficit to beat Serbia 62-61 in dramatic fashion and reach the Semi-Finals of the FIBA World Championship for Women.
Flat and uninspiring at both ends of the court when trailing 36-26, it had looked like the dreams of the host nation were in serious danger of being shattered.
But a remarkable turnaround ensured - no better highlighted by veteran legend Nevriye Yilmaz, who had been an eye-watering 0 of 14, but made her next three shots in a row to play a part in the revival.
"I am so happy with this victory and to beat a tough team like Serbia," said Yilmaz afterwards.
"We managed to get the win, but if we want to make the Final, we are going to have to start making some shots and especially me."
Turkey had enjoyed a positive start and led 23-18, but Serbia wrestled the initiative away from them either side of half-time to build their ten point lead.
Midway through the third period, the pendulum swung back to Turkey as Birsel Vardarli Demirmen and Saziye Ivegin both made big triples.
It was part of an 18-4 run which put Turkey on the rise and they only just managed to cling on to the lead in a dramatic and nail-biting conclusion as Serbia continued to make big shots.
Turkey also had Lara Sanders to thank for sealing the deal, after the center accumulated 14 points, a monstrous 19 rebounds and a spectacular five blocks - including two huge swats in crunch time.
The large crowd inside Fenerbahce Arena also played a part in turning the game in the direction of Turkey claimed Yilmaz.
"I thought our fans stayed with us and were a very big help when we needed them most," she insisted.
"They responded with lots of noise and once again, they proved they are the very best fans."
Turkey will play Spain in Saturday's Semi-Finals.