ORCHIES (EuroBasket Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - Turkey moved to within touching distance of back-to-back Final appearances at EuroBasket Women after reaching the Semi-Finals with a powerful defensive display against Belarus who must put their FIBA World Championship for Women ambitions on hold.
After clinching the silver medal two years ago on a memorable and historic night in Lodz, Turkey are looking to add to their medal haul after successfully suffocating Belarus 55-41 in the third Quarter-Final match-up in Orchies.
It means Belarus will have one last opportunity to make it to the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women, but they can take heart from Turkish head coach Ceyhun Yildizoglu, who was adamant they provided his side with one of the stiffest tests yet.
"Because of the effort they put into the game, I really want to congratulate the Belarus team," said Yildizoglu.
"We knew that in order to win this game, we had to be very careful offensively, as well as defensively.
"That is because we were aware that our opponent had some very important inside and outside players.
"We were always aware that we would have to put in a great physical effort and for sure it was way above our tournament average."
"I think we were successful throughout the game," mused the play-caller.
"I congratulate my own players, because of the fact they had a great defensive effort in this game, and especially compared to our previous six games."
Belarus were always on the back foot after a slow start and never truly looked like they would overhaul Turkey, who despite not playing at their slick offensive best, were always defensively supreme.
They forced Belarus into 20 turnovers and since their opponents were also drawing blanks from long-range, there only ever looked to be one likely winner - and so it proved.
For whilst Belarus did briefly threaten a revival at the start of the fourth quarter, it was killed off by Saziye Ivegin, who was the only player to find her range from deep and landed three triples in a handy 13 point contribution.