|Pecs 2010 impressive finish to the Qualifying Round has put Avenida on alert, says Anna Montanana |
By Paul Nilsen
Anna Montanana has claimed Halcon Avenida are alert to the danger posed by Pecs 2010 ahead of tonight's play-off opener in Salamanca.
The Spanish International is experienced enough to know that while fans will be expecting the team to make a big run in the play-offs, looking past this first 40 minutes of action could prove to be a grave error.
For Pecs 2010 are one of the form teams of the tournament having turned around their season after looking dead and buried halfway through the Qualifying Round.
However four wins from their last five games helped the Hungarian outfit to sneak into the last sixteen and set up what promises to be a fascinating series.
"Pecs 2010 are a traditional team in EuroLeague Women and while they aren't having their best season, they have achieved some good victories."
"Those wins put us on alert for these matches, starting tonight."
"Pecs 2010 are a very young team with a great leader in Dalma Ivanyi, and will be tough on their home court."
"We are only looking towards this first match in Salamanca for now."
"We are concentrating on being focused on our game and playing our usual style."
It's certainly a prudent stance to take against a young and hungry Pecs team who have shown their fighting qualities in recent months.
Anke De Mondt is another experienced Halcon Avenida player who knows exactly what to expect and that is a tough game. She also reminded everyone the two respective paths of each club have crossed on a regular basis in recent times.
"The whole team and city of Salamanca is looking forward to this next round of EuroLeague Women - everybody is really excited!"
"I think we are ready for this confrontation with Pecs 2010. In my four seasons with Avenida, I've played them every year, so the two teams know each other pretty well, even though a lot of players have changed."
|Alexandria Quigley is confident the Pécs gameplan will deny Avenida points from transition and offensive rebounds|
"Pecs is a team with a strong outside court and of course they have one of the best point guards in Ivanyi who has been leading this team for so many years."
"They got their ticket for the final sixteen after a strong home victory against Taranto, so we have been warned!"
"We have to come out strong and play our best game because of course at this stage of the competition, there are no easy games!"
Meanwhile in the Pecs 2010 camp, the players arrived in Salamanca last night by way of Madrid feeling in an upbeat mood. In fact Allie Quigley is looking not just to compete but to be positive and win the game.
After practicing this week and watching films of Salamanca, we have developed a game plan that we think will put us in a pretty good position to win the game."
"We know they are a running team with a powerful and quick inside presence."
"Defensively, we have to minimize their points from transition, dribble drive, and offensive rebounds."
"If we can do this and score some points on offense, I think we will be right where we want to be in the last few minutes of the game."
Hungary National Team guard Zsofia Fegyverneky echoed the sentiments of Quigley by adding,
"I think we can beat them if we are more organised and if we are smarter than them."
"Maybe they are more athletic and talented, but as a group, if we play together, we can be equal and beat them"
Qualifying Round - Halcon Avenida finished top of Group C with an 8-2 record. Pecs 2010 finished fourth in Group A with five wins and five losses.
Current Form - Pecs 2010 lost four of the first five games in the Qualifying Round and then have since won four of the last five games in the competition.
The Hot Hands - Alba Torrens is one of the form players of the tournament and has had a breakthrough season when she has realised her potential with numbers to match. She is absolutely flying this year and averaging 17.4 points per game. Dalma Ivanyi is at the opposite end of her career but in the last couple of games has also had the hot hand and showed her class. She has dished up 13 assists and poured in a combined 32 points in those two must-win games against Good Angels Kosice and Cras Basket Taranto.
X Factors - If Pecs 2010 are to stand any chance whatsoever, they have to do their level best to control the tempo and to step it up on the glass. It's hard enough trying to handle De Souza, Lyttle and Montanana in a half-court game than to also let the likes of the energetic Torrens get the open floor as well. The one area Pecs 2010 can also bridge a gap is if they can find some range from outside, something that hasn't really happened so far this season.
Did You Know? - Dalma Ivanyi is the assists leader of EuroLeague Women with an average of 5.4 assists per game.