EuroLeague Women 2004: no holds barred and may the best team(s) win…

09.02.2004

With only one round of games left of the regular season in the EuroLeague Women there is still no certainty as to the definitive 4 clubs from each group which will go through to the next round. Both groups see 2-3 teams fighting for a Play-Off spot and even the final placings at the top of each table are not set in stone. It has all come down to the last game day and there is still room for surprises…

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Two possible Play-Off candidates: UMMC Ekaterinburg and Pays d'Aix Basket 13

 

Group A

Although Group B looked to be tight from the very first tip-off, Group A appeared more certain, with two clubs, UMMC Ekaterinburg and UB Barcelona, dominating the first half of the season. No more! Ekaterinburg sit at the top of the table with 23 points and are a definite to qualify. A win this week will also guarantee the current title holders first place in the group.  Bourges, however, have moved up and taken 2nd position, coming into their game and consistently improving after a slow start. They have the same win loss record as Ekaterinburg (10/3) and also have 23 points. A win this week will also ensure them 2nd place.

Earlier table-toppers Barcelona have struggled in recent games and following a home loss to Pays d’Aix Basket last week, now lie third in the table and are under serious threat from both Aix and Euroleasing-Orsi Sopron who are chasing the elusive 3rd and 4th spots. Barcelona have 22 points and need to win in Bourges to be certain to go through. Alternatively, if Aix or Sopron lose then the Spanish Champions still have a chance, but with the French and Hungarian sides both playing at home the chances are seriously reduced.

If UB Barcelona lose and Pays d’Aix Basket and Euroleasing-Orsi Sopron both win there will be a three-way tie between the clubs with all three sitting on 23 points. UB Barcelona will therefore lose out due to their inferior goal average against Aix and Sopron.

Group B

Over in Group B the table has never looked cut and dry, with the top four being near impossible to predict from game day 1. The play-off situation is far from easy and a multitude of scenarios exist for the four clubs who have 40 minutes on Wednesday to battle for the 3 remaining spaces in the classification table.

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Both Lotos Clima Gdynia and JME Gambrinus Brno are looking for one more win
Going into the last games, Lotos VBW Clima Gdynia (22 points) is the only club certain of qualification, however, the Polish champions still require one more win to keep their place at the top of the group. If they lose, they face a possible two-way or even three-way tie which will bring them down to second place.

For places 2-4 the gate to the next round stands open. Having shot themselves in the foot with a heart-wrenching 1-point last-second loss at home to Vilnius last week, Ros Casares Valencia (20 points) need to win against USVO (21 points) in Valenciennes to have a chance of going further, and they need to win by more than 7 points at least. An Odyssean task indeed, as the French club remains unbeaten at home this season in international and domestic competition.

Should Valencia pull this off, they will go into a three-way tie with USVO and the loser of this week’s big game between MIZO-Pecsi VSK and JME Gambrinus Brno in Pecs. Both Pecs and Brno are sitting on 21 points apiece and have taken turns leading the Group B table over the regular season, but now, if Valencia should win, both will need the two points to be sure of continuing to the Play-Offs.

If USVO takes the victory at home and Gdynia also wins, the four qualifiers are then clear and their classification as well: Gdynia, USVO, winner/loser of Pecs/Brno.

Stay tuned to fibaeurope.com on Wednesday evening for all the results and final standings.


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