EuroLeague Women Review: Week 13
MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - Our women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen gives us his take on all the EuroLeague Women action from the penultimate week of the Regular Season.
CALCULATORS CAN BE TROUBLESOME
I should be writing with passion and glee about that triple overtime game between Uniqa Sopron and Hatay. If you catch some highlights, check out the box score of the live blog, then it looks quite exciting and appealing.
Only amongst the eye-popping numbers of some of the players, who performed brilliantly, it never sits comfortably with me when one team is playing the numbers game and deliberately inflicting a 24-second turnover on themselves so the other team can score.
This is the main reason that there was 15 extra minutes and it made for a bizarre spectacle as Uniqa Sopron willed their opponents to force more time as they didn't want any win, they were looking for a nine-point win. Something which was all wrapped up in their head-to-head calculations and I assume, their predictions of other scores.
After the second period of overtime, just hearing Sopron head coach Laszlo Sterbenz say, "Okay. Now we will try to win this game," during a time-out was strange to digest.
In the end, Sopron lost and I am not sure what the fans in the arena will have actually made of it all.
FINAL FOUR RADAR UNAFFECTED
It's been a while since I gave an opinion on Final Four contenders and it is the same message as normal. You just can't look past UMMC, Fenerbahce and Dynamo Kursk, with ZVVZ USK Prague and Nadezhda still the next best thing.
@Regrann from @artyom_mirniy - Copyright© Artyom Mirniy (r-tyomphoto). Anna Cruz (Minnesota Lynx/Dynamo Kursk) #dynamokursk #artyommirniy #basketball #wnba #annacruz_15 #wnba_lynx #динамокурск #здесьбаскетбол #женскийбаскетбол #womenbasketball #EuroLeagueWomen #women #gameday #Europe #euroleaguebasketball #euroleague #fibaeurope #fibaeuropecup #eurobasketwomen2017 #baller #ball #balling #bball #basketballneverstops #nike #nbaallstar #nbabasketball #nbanews
Dynamo Kursk weren't at their best against Schio but still dug out a win - something always possible when you have their quality and the likes of Anna Cruz on board.
Meanwhile Prague have lost two big games at home to their Final Four rivals, but they can still be a tough opposition and they will now face Orenburg in the next phase. For me, this is to see who makes up the Final Four line-up. At this stage I can't see anyone upsetting UMMC, Fenerbahce or Kursk - or at least beating them twice in a three game series.
THE WEEKLY GONGS
Team Performance of the Week: I can't give it to Hatay as Sopron could have won that game, but were trying to deliberately force overtime. So, I am handing it to Wisla Can-Pack for delivering that knockout blow to Mersin and winning 83-74 in Turkey to qualify for the EuroCup Women Quarter-Finals.
Individual Performance of the Week: While I am not handing the team award to Hatay, I will thrust the gong for individual performance into the hands of Courtney Paris for her jaw-dropping 33-point and 28-rebound effort. It was one of the biggest and best ever double-doubles in EuroLeague Women history - it's no wonder she headlined the Performers of the Week.
Unsung Hero of the Week: You will recall that I mentioned last week how it was good to see Romanian forward Claudia Pop back from her serious injury. Well, behind the headline contributions of Sandra Ygueravide and Ewelina Kobryn, you had to admire Pop's 11 points from 5-of-6 floor shooting.
- The 28 rebounds by Courtney Paris was the highest by any player in a game this season. So too was the 19 defensive rebounds as part of that haul.
- The 95 points against Sopron was the highest in Hatay's brief EuroLeague Women history.
- She may have been on the losing side, but Laia Palau had 14 assists for ZVVZ USK Prague against Fenerbahce and that beat the previous best of 13 in a game - also registered by the Spaniard.
- It was perhaps bitter-sweet for Dragana Stankovic on her return to Sopron. She was on the winning team, but was fouled out in nine minutes! Has there been anyone fouled out as quickly this season in the tournament? I doubt it!
- What a Week 14 lies in wait as tickets are decided. It's going to be tremendous with two Quarter-Final tickets left to take - one in each group. Plus some passes to the last eight of EuroCup Women as well! It's exactly what we hoped for when the 2016-17 campaign tipped off!
You can follow Paul @basketmedia365