BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Algirdas Paulauskas has answered an SOS from Nadezhda|
Lithuanian national team coach Algirdas Paulauskas will jump into the hot-seat at Nadezhda on a temporary basis, whilst Turkish national team star Nevriye Yilmaz has completed her long awaited comeback from injury.
NEW COACH FOR NADEZHDA
Paulauskas has been drafted into Nadezhda in order to cover the void left by Aleksandr Kovalev who was hospitalised earlier in the season with deep vein thrombosis.
Kovalev is still being nursed back to full health and isn't able to resume coaching duties, meaning the club has had to turn to Paulauskas as a stop-gap measure with assistant coach Alexander Vasin having been in charge during the last couple of months.
It will be the third Russian club which Paulauskas has coached, having previously spent time at Dynamo Kursk before being handed the task of trying to lead UMMC Ekaterinburg to EuroLeague Women glory last season - something which he wasn't able to do and that resulted in him being relieved of his duties last summer.
Perhaps suffering something of a hangover after relinquishing the EuroCup Women title last week, the former club of Paulauskas, Dynamo Kursk, were routed 87-64 by his new team.
Despite the loss, Kursk will be keeping faith in the man who used to assist Paulauskas, fellow Lithuanian coach Alfredas Vainauskas. The play-caller, who was recently handed the reins of the Russian national team, has been given a new deal by Kursk.
Veteran guard Becky Hammon rolled back the years with a classy 20-point haul for Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje as they gained revenge for a painful derby loss blowout earlier in the season by scooping a convincing 87-71 win against Dynamo Moscow. Isabelle Yacoubou also shone with a double-double, as Sparta&K drew level on three losses with their opponent.
|Nevriye Yilmaz made her long-awaited debut for rival Turkish club Galatasaray|
Following an outstanding unbeaten winning streak in the Turkish League, Fenerbahce finally tasted defeat, whilst their former star and Turkish national team center Nevriye Yilmaz made her long-awaited debut for fierce rivals Galatasaray.
Fener suffered an 81-75 road loss at Mersin after losing their focus. They headed into the final quarter ahead by double-digits, but their defence deserted them as they gave up 29 points during the last ten minutes to crash.
Erlana Larkins and Shavonte Zellous headlined for Mersin, the former harvesting 18 points and 16 rebounds, and the latter pouring in a mammoth 35 points. Great Britain forward Chantelle Handy supported with a fine three-point shooting performance, whilst the team also sunk a perfect 15-of-15 from the free-throw line.
This loss for Fenerbahce halves the gap between them and Galatasaray who still only have two losses after producing a powerful 87-38 win against the relegation-threatened Samsun.
Gala fans finally got to see Nevriye Yilmaz in her new uniform having made the controversial switch across the Bosphorus last summer from Fenerbahce. She got injured during pre-season and required surgery, but having completed her rehabilitation, she managed to play over 20 minutes and finished with nine points and six rebounds.
Elsewhere in Turkey, there is a Montenegrin fuelled revival underway at Besiktas. Having not won all season, they grabbed back-to-back victories after a combined 46 points from Milicia Jovanovic and Milka Bjelica helped achieve a 92-77 win against Ceyhan, seeing them move off the bottom of the table.
Edremit are now in last position, but almost caused a major surprise, forcing EuroCup Women semi-finalists and third placed Kayseri Kaski spor to work hard for a 74-70 success.
Tarsus Belediye remain in fourth position after 16 points from Delisha Milton-Jones took them to a 74-58 win against visiting Adana Botas.
LIGA FEMENINA TURNING INTO TWO-HORSE RACE
|Monique Currie has impressed in her early days at Perfumerias Avenida|
It's developing into a two-horse race in Liga Femenina after Rivas Ecopolis dealt a blow to title rivals Spar Uni Girona by inflicting a 63-61 defeat on them as Anna Cruz hit the decisive basket with just a couple of seconds left on the game clock.
It resigned Girona to a fourth defeat which is likely to be a fatal blow with Rivas having only lost once and Perfumerias Avenida, the other main contender, twice. Avenida stormed to a 76-53 victory against Caja Rural as recent acquisition Monique Currie claimed 15 points.
Finally, it was the Cup which took centre-stage in France and there were no surprises in the sixteenth finals as all of the big-hitters safely negotiated their way into the next round with a number of blowouts. The headline maker was Danielle Page of Lyon who broke the 40-point barrier against third division team Saint Etienne in a 105-46 blowout.