Paul Nilsen is a freelance basketball journalist writing for various websites and publications across Europe.
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EuroLeague Women is always at its extra special best when history is being made in the competition and Week Four certainly didn't disappoint in this respect.
|Jillian Robbins sparked Targoviste's win with 13 points and nine rebounds|
MARVELLOUS MUNICIPAL TARGOVISTE
Yes, there's no other place to start but with Municipal Targoviste who claimed their first ever win of the modern EuroLeague Women era, having last won a game way back during the nineties.
It is an accomplishment to be savoured and congratulations are due to the players, coaches, management and fans, who, with a bit more luck against Schio, could have celebrated this magical moment a few weeks ago.
After leaving a congratulatory message on the Targoviste Facebook page, it was also very warming to see established players from across Europe such as Anke De Mondt, Evanthia Maltsi and Andja Jelavic all show their support - something which shows that as a women's basketball family, it's good to share and respect the accomplishments of others.
Sticking with the social media side of things, it's been noticeable and hugely disappointing that some people clearly have the knives out for George Dikeoulakos and seem desperate for him to fail. To offer some balance into this equation, he's done a pretty good job wherever he has been from what I have seen, and this trend is potentially continuing - although it's just one win so let's see what happens from this point onwards.
The one sting in the tail for not just fans of Municipal Targoviste but indeed EuroLeague Women fans everywhere, is that this project hasn't yet proved to be a long term and sustainable one. Of course most, (if not all) clubs are at the mercy of wealthy owners, commercial sponsors or the financial backing of civic authorities and things can change quickly - as evidenced by the recent fall from grace of Elitzur Ramla, just 18 months after they actually won the EuroCup Women.
I hope Municipal Targoviste has just tasted the first of many more victories in this great competition, not only this season, but for many years to come and that this time, the gap between victories is not quite as long!
RELIEF FOR HEJOKOVA AND ZVVZ USK PRAGUE
That is not disrespecting the Croatian team because by their own admission, they don't have anywhere near the kind of resources and roster as their Group C rivals.
The main thing required when USK Prague took to the floor was a good start and when it duly arrived, the confidence began to flow through the team. It was visible in every aspect and now this win could be a springboard to brighter and better things. The next couple of games will truly shape their season more than any other.
I was pleased that in my TV Game preview, I had pointed out the need for Eva Viteckova to shoot the ball more from three-point range as a major ‘X-Factor,' and so it proved as she dropped a flurry of triples.
Although Novi Zagreb didn't play particularly well, you had to give huge props to Mirna Mazic for her sparkling double-double of 24 points and 14 rebounds.
Whilst it wasn't enough to help her team achieve a historic first success, it was well timed and a rather fitting contribution since she is the featured player for November in the official FIBA Europe 2012 Calendar!
|Zoi Dimitrakou has averaged 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in four games|
BEST WISHES FROM BOURGES FOR DIMITRAKOU
Greek forward Zoi Dimitrakou has done a fine job both in the French League and in EuroLeague Women for Bourges since she stepped up earlier this year to cover for national team colleague and ACL victim Styliani Kaltsidou.
She played in the win against Tarsus in Turkey which was her last but she didn't have far to travel to her new destination since she has penned a deal with last season's EuroCup Women finalist Kayseri Kaski spor.
Emmeline Ndongue took a photo of Zoi departing in a car and also summed up the gratitude from everyone at the French club via her twitter account @Emmline14.
WORRYING BLOW FOR KOSICE?
The failure of EuroLeague Women rookie Riquna Willliams to settle in Kosice is a potentially significant blow for Good Angels and a timely reminder of the challenges players (and especially those fresh out of College) face in adjusting to life so far away from home.
General Manager Daniel Jendrichovsky has confirmed the club has agreed to release Williams by mutual consent after she didn't appear in their last outing against Arras. They just squeezed out a win in that particular game, but the sharp shooting of the swingman was missed and she will be tough to replace as she is a hugely talented player who had averaged 14.5 points per game and shot the ball really well in her only two games of action.
But, as any General Manager or coach worth their salt will always tell you, an unhappy player isn't good for anybody and it looks to be a smart decision all round that the club and player agree to move on.
Another prudent move was not to jump in with both feet and have a knee-jerk reaction in terms of a replacement. The club has swooped to sign Natasha Lacy on only a short-term deal after the guard was one of the import players released by Elitzur Ramla last week.
AND FINALLY, BEST WISHES TO COACH KOVALEV
EuroLeague Women is as a gruelling competition and can take a heavy toll on all involved - including the coaches. Unfortunately Nadezhda coach Aleksander Kovalev has revealed he may be out of action for some time after being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in his leg.
Consequently travelling long distances in the tournament (and also the Russian league for that matter) is off the agenda for the short term. We wish him a speedy recovery and good luck to his able deputy, Aleksandar Vasin who will step up in his absence.