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An exciting first week of EuroLeague Women action in 2013 hopefully set the tone for the remainder of the calendar year.
SURPRISE PACKAGE POLKOWICE
|Laia Palau and her CCC Polkowice team-mates shocked Galatasaray in front of a 3,500 strong crowd|
Few people (if anybody) predicted what proved to be undeniably one of the biggest shocks of the season so far, as CCC Polkowice claimed a famous win in Istanbul against title frontrunners Galatasaray. Whilst it was probably a good time to be playing Gala in the wake of their thrilling Turkish Cup win against Fenerbahce, nothing should detract from the efforts of the Polish club.
It's important to put this result into context, since the history books will indeed show the incredible result, but won't tell the story of the additional reasons to be proud and amazed, with the way that CCC Polkowice came back from 15 points down to clinch a stunning road success.
What this does for Gala is very simple. It gives them a much needed and timely wake-up call. Being focused every single night is a no-brainer. Whilst not shooting the ball well from the perimeter can be tolerated, missing 13 of 24 free-throws is quite another thing altogether and wholly inexcusable at this level.
Switching off mentally can be fatal and Galatasaray must play like champions if they want to be champions - and this means not losing games like this.
But, like I said, this wasn't about the shortcomings of Gala, but about giving props to Jacek Winnicki and his Polkowice players for achieving a truly super result.
Oh and what about Nnemkadi Ogwumike by the way? Five from ten from downtown this season - I don't think anybody saw that coming and if she has consistent range like that in the medium term, then she's even more of a stellar talent than we already thought.
TIMELY TORRENS RETURN
After making her long awaited comeback in the Turkish Cup Final last weekend, the loss to CCC Polkowice overshadowed the return of Alba Torrens to EuroLeague Women duty a little. It's an absolute thrill to have her back again, since she has been sorely missed by everyone who loves the competition and women's basketball.
The reason her return was so timely was that Torrens said after the loss, "Games are always difficult in EuroLeague Women. This is an example of it. I feel better now after the injury but I have to practice more and play better also."
It's that kind of winning mentality and straight talking which is just as important to Galatasaray as being able to utilise her impressive skill-set again. She plays and speaks like the former EuroLeague Women champion she is.
|Back on track with a new coach? Marta Fernandez and Perfumerias Avenida will certainly hope so|
Yes, it's early days for Perfumerias Avenida and nobody should get carried away, but the impressive performance and result against USO Mondeville has been described by members of the Spanish media as representing the ‘Blue Revolution.'
Having replaced Alberto Miranda with Victor Lapena and also choosing to dismiss Nicole Powell, it may well be a new and more fruitful chapter moving forward. Congratulations are due to Coach Lapena for his first win in the competition, something which will always be both a relief and a delight for any rookie EuroLeague Women coach.
Whether it is truly a revolution or not will probably only be seen once Avenida have concluded their regular season schedule.
ARRAS DEALING WITH THE REALITY
Not many teams can genuinely have a reason for not putting their heart and soul into their EuroLeague Women campaign.
But, in the case of Arras, it's pretty easy to forgive them for channelling their priorities towards the domestic front.
For make no mistake, things are getting absolutely serious and desperate now in the French League, where they still remain on course for an unthinkable relegation to the Second Division.
They remain locked at the bottom of the standings with EuroCup Women quarter-finalists Hainaut Basket with an eye-wateringly poor 3 and 12 record.
It looks like after Thibault Petit lost his job, the last throw of the dice will be appointing frontrunner for the post Marc Silvert, who ironically, has coached in the EuroLeague Women previously with Belgian side Dexia Namur. Although as stated, it isn't likely to be his main priority.
NOT SO GREAT FOR GYOR
What could arguably be described as a reasonable successful season for Uni Gyor looks to now be disintegrating despite making the post-season being a possibility.
Hopefully replacements will be drafted in, because if not, their chances of the play-offs just went up in smoke.
BOURGES GO BRITISH
It's been a bitterly disappointing few weeks for British Basketball having had the all-important central funding withdrawn, so the possibility of Leedham returning to the EuroLeague Women (if she impresses at her tryout) provides some welcome good news.
Without wanting to sound like her agent, I have always loved the game of Leedham. She is all-action player, she can put points on the board and I think her quick hands and defensive capabilities are sometimes overlooked.