Russia Reclaims European Title with 59-42 Victory Over Turkey

Russia successfully reclaimed the European title after hammering out a dominating 59-42 win over the heavy-underdog Turkey in the finals of the EuroBasket Women 2011 on Sunday night in Lodz, Poland.

Maria Stepanova, who could be playing in her last EuroBasket games after a total of eight appearances, dominated the hapless Turkish team as she finished with 18 points to go with 12 rebounds and four rebounds for Russia, who dominated the rebounding department 52-19.

“I am extremely happy. This is my third gold medal at the EuroBasket Women and it could be my last as I may not play in another EuroBasket Women,” said Stepanova. “We knew we had to play smart against Turkey and use our size advantage. We did that and kept working until the end. We have worked very hard in this tournament.”

Elena Danilochkina, who was named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player finished with 12 points, while Irina Osipova added six points and nine rebounds for the Russian team, which controlled the game right from the opening buzzer.

Pumped up and inspired by being tagged as the heavy favorite, Russia had sizzling start to take 19-8 lead at the end of the opening period, a lead that they will never relinquish en route to their title-clinching victory and earn a ticket to London for next year’s Olympic Games.

“We knew it would be a difficult final and that was the case. Turkey is a very good team,” Russia coach Boris Sokolovsky said. “The result did not reflect the level of fighting on the court. Sometimes we were lucky. Turkey had gone into this game having won three consecutive games. It was not simple for us to beat them.”

Birsel Vardarli had 10 points, while Nevriye Yilmaz, an all-tournament awardee, finished with six points and five rebounds for Turkey, who were proud if their silver-medal finish in this year’s EuroBasket.

“This is a huge achievement for us and we are very proud to go home with a silver medal,” Yilmaz said. “This is just our fourth EuroBasket Women appearance and to get a medal is a wonderful feeling.”

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