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Unbeaten Turks Can Not Rest On Laurels

21 June 2013
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013

By Paul Nilsen

Sweden head coach Lars Johansson
Sweden head coach Lars Johansson will be kept guessing by a Turkish team relying on a heavy rotation

 

Turkey have kept their losses column clean to date, but cannot afford any complacency as they prepare to come up against the talk of the tournament in Sweden.

Last Time Out: Turkey secured their place in the last eight by comprehensively shutting down Italy. They restricted the Azzurre to just two points during the third quarter, to facilitate a 66-46 success. Sweden were on their mettle from the tip-off against Montenegro and a great team performance led to an impressive 69-58 victory.

Key Match Up: The biggest headache for Swedish coach Lars Johansson is identifying in detail what the match-ups actually are, since the rotation which Turkey employ is absolutely relentless and as deep as it gets. This game is possibly more about combination match-ups, in the sense that the Swedish frontcourt must compete and the guards must do the same in their personal battles. Although from a Turkish perspective, who takes Swedish kingpin Frida Eldebrink will matter and it will be interesting to see who is given the task of being her primary defender, because it's unlikely much zone defence will be played.

Key Stat: Turkey had 11 different scorers in their last outing, which shows how tough it is for opponents to focus on any individual players in pursuit of slowing down their offensive production. They also give up only 50.8 points-per-game defensively - showing what a tough nut to crack they are in every way.

X-Factor: Sweden are a nation who rely on energy, toughness as a team unit and generally are most dangerous playing with their tails up. If they get any encouragement during a game, they will jump on it and feed off it. For all the headlines around their ability to play roughly, there are two or three more lines underneath and reflective of the scouting report which confirm they play some attractive basketball too. For Turkey, it may be a case of taking away any early momentum for Sweden. Turkish head coach Ceyhun Yildizoglu had a wry smile on his face when the topic of a physical game was raised, since Turkey certainly know how to mix it. Although having said all of the above, each side has excelled in their three-point shooting and it will be interesting to see if perimeter form drops below current levels. It is maybe a bigger risk for Sweden who do not have as many scoring threats inside.

From The Camps: "We are also as physical as our opponent and because of their success, we really emphasise what they have done and I believe it's going to be a great game. Such an experienced team as us knows how to play against a physical team and we will reflect that on the court" - Turkish play-caller Ceyhun Yildozoglu on the battle ahead.

"There are no easy games when it is your first time at this level and so even if you play big name teams, it's no different - they are all hard. Teams lower in the rankings are tough and obviously so is playing Turkey" - Swedish head coach Lars Johansson.

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