In possibly the most entertaining game thus far in the women’s tournament, Spain denied Turkey the upset and advanced to the semifinals on Anna Cruz’s jumper as time expired.
Turkey had the game right where they wanted late in fourth, leading 60-52 with 3:45 to play. The Turkish offense entered the contest averaging less than 65 points per game, relying primarily on their defense, which was holding opponents to 65 points per game as well, to get them to the knockout stage.
Spain, however, blitzed Turkey with a 10-0 run to take a 62-60 lead with 37 seconds left. After an Isil Alben miss with 23 seconds remaining, Turkey opted not to foul the Spanish and it paid off. Former North Carolina Tar Heel Lara Sanders, who finished with a game-high 22 points and ten rebounds, induced a steal with ten seconds left before jetting up the floor, getting the ball back, and laying it in with 4.3 seconds to retie the score at 62 apiece.
The Spanish then quickly in-bounded the ball to Cruz, who drove up the middle of the floor before Alben picked her up near the three-point line. With time winding down, Cruz left her feet, momentarily juggled the ball, and let the game-winner fly from just inside the arc. Cruz, who once played for the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA, scored ten of her 14 points in the fourth quarter on 5-7 shooting.
Spain led 29-25 at halftime before Turkey took control in the third with an early 11-0 run. Sanders, who did not make a shot in the first half but was 8-8 from the free-throw line, and Nevriye Yilmaz, who scored all 13 of her points in the first two quarters, combined for 21 of Turkey’s 25 first half points. Silvia Dominguez, who scored seven, led Spain in the first.
The Spanish were able to keep the game close down the stretch although leading scorer Alba Torrens, who was averaging nearly 19 points per game, only scored six on 3-12 shooting. Laura Nicholls finished with 12 points and Astou Ndour had ten for Spain, who will meet Serbia in the next round after their stunning upset of Group A winner Australia.