Basketball In Europe
|Erika De Souza was simply unstoppable in the Spanish league final series, averaging 24.5 points and 12 rebounds for champions Halcon Avenida |
Halcon Avenida are returning to Salamanca as champions for the second time this month and the third time this season after sweeping Ros Casares in the Liga Femenina play-off finals.
A star-laden UMMC Ekaterinburg also finished their season on a high by beating Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje, 3-0, in the Russian post-season title series.
Both were crowned champions on Thursday night.
Avenida, fresh off their EuroLeague Women triumph over Sparta&K in Russia, beat their Spanish rivals Ros in Valencia, 90-85, for a 2-0 series win.
Brazil center Erika de Souza had 19 points and 12 rebounds
and Spain national team duo Sancho Lyttle and Alba Torrens added 13 and 11, respectively.
Silvia Dominguez, the Avenida captain, said: "We wanted to finish this year as it started.
"It all began here (in Valencia) winning the Supercopa and now we have won the league.
"We only have the disappointment of the Copa de la Reina, but everything that has happened at the end makes up for that disappointment."
Rivas Ecopolis, who played in the EuroLeague Women with Avenida and Ros Casares, beat both teams to win the Copa de la Reina.
Torrens, one of the biggest talents in Europe at just 21 years of age, said: "It was a season in which we had bad times but all of it was worth it, to get the EuroLeague and now, this title is a big thing.
Avenida beat Ros in the Supercopa, at the EuroLeague Final Four and now in the Spanish title series.
Natalia Hejkova, who replaced Jordi Fernandez as coach of Ros after their EuroLeague Women Eighth-Finals triumph over MKB Euroleasing Sopron, said: "Like the first game, we lost our concentration during the second quarter and while we tried to react and come back, it was too late."
Hejkova is famous for having led Ruzomberok and Sparta&K to back-to-back EuroLeague Women titles during her career.
|Candace Parker led all scorers with 20 points in the last game of the finals, to secure a third consecutive Russian league title for UMMC Ekaterinburg|
"I'm upset because I am a winner and this season we have not won anything," she said, "but I want to thank my players for the effort they have made."
Lyttle and EuroLeague Women Final Four MVP Torrens will now take a short break before joining up with Spain to prepare for the EuroBasket Women in Poland.
Dominguez will also be hoping to make that squad.
UMMC Make It Three In A Row
As for UMMC, Gundars Vetra's side had set out to win all before them this season but lost for the fourth consecutive time to Sparta&K in the Semi-Finals of the EuroLeague Women.
That defeat was even more painful this season as they hosted the Final Four.
They rebounded nicely.
Candace Parker had 20 points on Thursday to lead UMMC with Cappie Pondexter contributing 15 and Deanna Nolan 13.
Russia captain Maria Stepanova, who spoke about the need to win in three games in order to have a rest before joining her national team to get ready for the EuroBasket Women, finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
"I congratulate everyone for this long-awaited victory, and, of course, especially our fans," Stepanova said on the club's website.
"Thank you for being with us this entire season, for believing in us and supporting us no matter what.
"Thank you so much! See you next season!"