The Faurie Files: No Time Off For These Four

07 April 2008

 Dominique FaurieDominique Faurie has covered women's basketball all over Europe and will write regularly for during the EuroLeague season.

We are now less than a week away from the EuroLeague Women Final Four in Brno.

It's been a month since we played a EuroLeague Women game but the four teams battling for the title have been anything but on holiday since then. 


Bourges finally lost in the French league to Challes, the first loss for Pierre Vincent's squad this season domestically. Amazing because the close loss (61-60) came to the leagues sixth place team playing without ex Faenza insiders Nieuwveen and Jones, two key players in their starting five.

"There is no way to play Bourges," said Challes coach Corinne Benintendi "Except if they're already thinking about the Final Four."

It probably was the case as Vincent played with a complete roster and Snell was the top scorer for Bourges (17 pt).  They will have one more game in the French League, at home against ninth place Clermont on Tuesday.

It could have been a big, big mess, imagine the Final Four canceled because of a strange epidemic.

Brno were supposed to play two playoff games on the 4th and 5th of April but many players from Strakonice, the opposing team, were sick.  The team had to suffer through a quarantine period.

"They might have been contaminated by another team," says Hamchetou Maïga-Ba, Brno's forward.

"It's a pity, because we would have liked to play."

The "Foxes" were defeated by CSKA Moscow 88-87 in overtime on 2nd April.  They played the last game of the regular season on Sunday against Vologda, a team they beat twice this season 93-67, and 75-61.

This game had little meaning but UMCC won 78-72, without Harrower, without Gruda whom Buffard choose to rest.  Jones had 23 points in 35 minutes and was their top scorer.

Nadejda Hejkova and her girls played against CSKA in what, very easily, could have been a preview of the Final Four. It was a key game for first place in the regular season, and CSKA could lose by 13 points after their victory at home.

But the European Champion left nothing to chance and won easily 86-63, taking first place leading into the play-offs. In spite of 18 and 16 points for Stepanova and Wauters, Sue Bird did more with 25 points. Spartak showed they are sharp and ready for ther Final Four with this big win.

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