Russia entered the medal round after escaping with a nail-biting 66-63 win over Turkey on Tuesday night to advance to the semifinals of the 2012 London Olympics women’s basketball competition.
Russia, who finished third in Group B after the preliminary round, jumped on right from the opening tip and withstood the tough challenge posted by Turkey as they manage to keep their composure down the stretch en route to the win.
Becky Hammon had her best scoring night in this year’s Olympics as she finished with 19 points and five assists, while Evgeniya Belyakova, Natalya Vieru, and Anna Petrakova added 10 points apiece for Russia, who had a strong start that dictated the tempo of the match.
Behind the impressive plays of Hammon and Belyakova, Russia took a 23-16 advantage at the end of the first period and led by as much as 16 points, 28-16, in the 9:04 mark of the second period.
However, Turkey, who finished behind top-seeded USA in Group A, found their mark as the slowly crawled back to trim the lead down to six points at the half and eventually tying the match at 51 heading into the final period.
Turkey briefly took the lead, 54-51, with 8:34 left in the game, but Russia had an answer and they managed to take control of the game again and never looked back.
After a see-saw battle in the first nine minutes of the game, Birsel Vardali tied the game at 62 with only 26 seconds left in the game, but Hammon scored on a crucial basket inside the paint to give Russia a precarious two-point lead.
Quanitra Hollingsworth, a naturalized player, had a chance to tie the game for Turkey as she was fouled in the ensuing play, but missed one of her two free-throws.
Irina Osipova was fouled to stop in the clock, hitting his first and missing his second one, but Hollingsworth failed to control the board, leading to another split for Belyakova.
Turkey had a chance to tie the game, but Vardali’s potential game-tying three-pointer rimmed out – ending their hopes of entering the medal round.
Nevriye Yilmaz led Turkey with 22 points and five rebounds, while Vardali and Hollingsworth added 12 points apiece.