‘Fairies of Net’ start Olympic qualifying campaign with a bang

The “Fairies of the Net,” as the Turkish women’s national basketball »»

The “Fairies of the Net,” as the Turkish women’s national basketball team is popularly called, kicked off their 2012 Olympic qualifying campaign on a winning note as they routed Puerto Rico 65-53 at Ankara’s Atatürk Sports Hall on Monday evening.

The Fairies went on the offensive from the word go, giving the visiting Puerto Ricans no breathing space whatsoever. The Turks led 24-12 at the end of the first quarter, with Bolu-born Mersin Büyükşehir Belediye star Tuğba Palazoğlu towering over the rest in this quarter.

Turkey maintained the momentum in the second quarter and led by 20 points (33-13) in the 15th minute. Thereafter the Fairies made numerous turnovers, but nonetheless led 35-22 at the end of halftime.

The third quarter was almost a carbon copy of the first and second, with the upbeat Fairies scoring at will and “defenseless” Puerto Rico not doing enough to close the gap. The fact that Turkey was up 50-39 at the end of this quarter is proof of this.

The fourth quarter was arguably Turkey’s best. And with US-born Quanitra Hollingsworth -- who acquired Turkish nationality this year -- in tremendous form, Puerto had almost no answer to the Fairies’ bombardment. And, with little surprise, the match, which was also watched by Sports Minister Suat Kılıç, ended 65-53 in Turkey’s favor.

The Fairies were still playing Japan on Tuesday evening when Today’s Zaman went to print.