Even making it to the FINAL4 in 2018 was an incredible performance, not to mention that for the first time in club history we were able to host the top clubs of Euroleague and many important personalities of the basketball world. What happened in the semi-final against Yakin Dogu cannot be rewatched enough times. Re-live the wonder with us!
Yakin Dogu started the semi-final better. They were already on a 7-2 run when Jeca managed to score. That shot launched a 9-0 counter-attack led by Zsófi, Yvonne and Jeca forcing the Turkish coach to call a time-out (5th minute 11-7). Our opponents were able to score again after four minutes, but we wouldn’t back down either and closed the first period with a seven-point lead (10th minute 19-12).
At the beginning of the second period Yakin Dogu cut their deficit in half, so it was time for Roberto Iniguez to call his team to the bench for a time-out (13th minute 21-17). After that Jeca managed to wcore once, and Angela hit the target twice increasing our lead over ten points for the first time in the game (28-17). There was a huge battle going on on the court but despite a four-point play by Kayla McBride the away side were unable to come closer to us (17th minute 36-26), and we were able to hold on to that advantage until half-time (20th minute 40-30).
We had to wait more than three minutes for the first basket after the break, which was scored by Danielle Page, and after a made shot by the Turkish Yvonne hit one from downtown (24th minute 45-32). Zsófi topped that with a buzzer-beater for three forcing Yakin Dogu to call their next time-out. After the short break Aleks buried another triple which put us close to a twenty-point margin, but then Yakin Dogu found their rhythm and cut their deficit in half before the final stage of the game (30th minute 56-46).
After an exchange of buckets by Angela and Caglar Yvonne made the crowd go crazy with a huge triple forcing the next Turkish time-out (32nd minute 61-48). In the next five minutes Yakin Dogu came up with a 13-0 run to get back in the saddle and took over the lead (61-62). After that the teams were neck and neck (65-65), and what came afterwards, there are no words to describe it… The defense stops Yvonne’s penetration, she gives the ball to Jeca in the corner, who makes the most important triple of her life with 1.2 seconds on the game clock. WE ARE THROUGH TO THE 2018 EUROLEAGUE FINAL (40th minute 68-65)!
Roberto Iniguez: I am very proud of my team! I've never had a team that worked as hard as them under my control. I am on their backs every single day pushing them forward. They deserve this final a lot. We have to learn from the last minutes, of course, but giving up that big lead had more reasons. We were starting to get tired, we have many young players, we are thin under the basket, but fortunately we made good decisions in key moments. MAny people didn't believe in us, they thought that we wouldn't have a chance tonight, but these people haven't seen us play a single game this season. This will be my fifth Euroleague final, but for me this will be my favourite.
Jelena Milovanovic: We had a very tough last ten minutes. We lost track mentally as well. We were winning against a team as talented as Yakin Dogu, and this opportunity made us insecure. I also needed luck when shooting that last shot at the end, which I lacked before. We are very happy, I feel like we deserved the win! This is the best day of my life on club level!
Zafer Kalaycioglu: Congratulations to Sopron, they have done an excellent job on the way here, and tonight as well. They played and fought tonight the way they have in the entire season. We missed too many free throws, which was one of the keys to our loss. I wish our opponent the best of luck in the final!
Sandrine Gruda: It is not easy to talk having had the chance to win. It was a difficult game, our opponents were fantastic, and they controlled most of the game. We woke up by the end, but it wasn't enough for success.
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