Leading Turkish female basketball club Galatasaray picked up the EuroCup trophy on 18 April after beating rivals Reyer Venezia. The final score over the two legs totalled 155-140 in Galatasaray’s favour.
The Turkish team lost the return game in Venice 72-65, but emerged victorious overall after building up a commanding lead with their 90-68 win in Istanbul the week before.
The Italian side had fancied their chances of overcoming the deficit in the second game having overturned a 20-point difference in the semi-finals. But a resolute Galatasaray refused to let the home side’s advantage get beyond 12 points during the game, ensuring the Turks won on aggregate.
The EuroCup is Galatasaray’s third European trophy in the past nine years. They became the first Turkish women’s club to win in Europe when they first won the EuroCup in 2009. Five years later they were crowned champions of Europe, winning the Euroleague Women’s championship in 2014.
The current team is led by Serbian coach Marina Maljković (pictured below). The daughter of legendary basketball coach Božidar Maljković, who won the Euroleague four times, Marina has forged her own reputation as a successful coach, winning the Serbian League six times and the Serbian Cup four times with two teams, Hemofarm and Partizan. She has also coached the national Serbian side to Gold in the 2015 EuroBasket Women, and to Bronze in the 2016 Summer Olympics. She was appointed head coach at Galatasaray in 2016.
— Galatasaray Basket (@GSBasketbol) 18 April 2018
Galatasaray is one of Turkey’s most successful female basketball teams, winning the domestic league a record 13 times and sharing the record for the Turkish Cup 11 times. However, the side has lost form in the last few seasons, and they currently languish mid-table in the Turkish Women’s Basketball League, making their victory in Europe all the more spectacular.
Team captain Işıl Alben, who has featured in all three European victories for Galatasaray, said: “We had difficult times at the beginning of the season, but led by our coach [Marina] Maljkovic, we’ve never given up.” Alben also thanked the fans for the support throughout the season.
Main photo © Galatasaray/ Twitter: Galatasaray Women’s Basketball Team holding up the EuroCup Women’s trophy, Venice, 18 April 2018.