Turkey were making their debut on a world level here in Suphanburi, Thailand, and after being drawn in a difficult group and having a difficult quarter-final, the game against South Africa was their first real chance to get their first win, not only at this tournament but also on an international stage.
In the opening quarter, Turkey pushed out to a 6-0 lead, but South Africa fought back to keep it to only a three-point deficit for them at the end of the period, 10-7. Turkey extended their lead in the second quarter, winning it by 10 points and giving themselves a little breathing space at the half-time interval, 24-11.
The third quarter was where Turkey really did the damage, scoring 22 points to South Africa’s 4 points, as they dominated underneath the basket shooting at 41% from the field compared to South Africa’s 20%.
Turkey got into foul trouble in the final period, losing Oznur Koc who picked up her fifth foul of the game, which gave South Africa the chance to stage a mini fighback. They won the quarter 10-2, but the gap proved too big to challenge the result, meaning Turkey took the victory and a place in the 5-6 placing game against Germany.
Turkey’s Meryem Tan picked up a double double of 24 points and 10 rebounds and led as top scorer from the game.
Turkey’s Head Coach, Murat Sultan, said after the game:
“It’s a very historical game for us. The U25’s team have been together for the past five years, but have not been to any championships. Last year we competed in Germany and lost every match, but this is the first match we have ever won.”
On preparing for a rematch against Germany, he commented:
“To start, we will look at some of the negative areas of our team’s performance to see how we can improve, and after that we will try to do our best to win as we want to become 5th in the World.”