|06 November 2012|
MBK Ruzomberok will be hoping it's a case of third time lucky as they search for their first EuroCup Women success of the new season when they entertain Antakya.
|The withdrawal of Israeli club Ramla makes the path to the second round somewhat easier for their Group H rivals|
Having lost both of their opening games in what remains a fiercely competitive Group H despite the recent withdrawl of Elitzur Ramla, the onus will be on the home team to go all out for the win.
Their qualification hopes have undoubtedly been boosted by news that the Israeli club and former champions have withdrawn from the competition due to financial problems. This means they not only shed their loss at Ramla, but also, two teams from three, rather than four, will now advance.
Much will depend on whether they can start making some shots when they face Antakya. Right now they are only shooting at 38%, a number which simply must be uplifted if they want to avoid being the odd one out in the Group. In stark contrast, Antakya have the hot-hand from long-range and currently lead the competition in three-point shooting.
MBK Ruzomberok will need to play good perimeter defence, especially against the dangerous Shekinna Stricklen who are just as happy doing damage in the paint, although the one positive fact for the hosts is that only Dynamo Kursk have more steals to their name.
Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration continue to cement its' status as one of the favourites for the title after two convincing wins in Group A, and a third seems likely when they travel to SISU of Denmark.
With the French club in pole-position, the other candidate to make it to the post-season would appear to be a straight fight between Chevakata and Satu Mare who meet each other this week in a crunch match-up.
This week will certainly go a long way to determining the respective fortunes of both Olimpia and Ted Ankara with the Group B duo scheduled to meet twice in the space of 72 hours.
|Key to victory for Olimpia will be shutting down Ana Dabovic who has been averaging 20.5 points a night|
Olimpia have twice come close to their first victory in two tough opening games, but have been edged out on both occasions so they will be hoping to find an extra gear this time round. Or, they will simply have to improve their accuracy with their 33.6% field-goal percentage currently the third worst in the tournament.
Defensively, they will know the ball will be in the hands of Ana Dabovic a lot, so they will probably look to stop her from pouring in the 20.5 points-per-game she has averaged during the first couple of weeks of the season.
Meanwhile, Hainaut Basket search for a third successive win when they meet Lotto Young Cats, having routed Ankara and squeezed past Olimpia last week.
Tarbes are controlling Group C so far, and they will be favourites to ease past winless Belfius Namur on Wednesday, even if they are in crisis domestically after slumping to a sixth loss in seven games in the French Legue.
A win for Tarbes against the Belgians will put additional emphasis on the clash 24 hours later between Spartak Noginsk and Mersin who looked destined to battle it out for second place.
Anna Tolikova is averaging a season double-double for the Russians, although perhaps it will be the defensive intensity of Marina Ivanova which will be decisive as Spartak look to bounce back from a nightmare performance at Tarbes. Ivanova is averaging three steals per game, although notably, Mersin have taken pretty good care of the ball in their opening two games.
Group D should witness Nantes ease past BBC Sint-Katelijne-Waver on home soil with the real intrigue likely to be focused inside Badria Halle as TSV Wasserburg try to steal a march on Dynamo-GUVD. It is an essential match-up in the context of the Group, with the German side knowing they will have to be at their very best to down an opponent who was only just beaten by Nantes.
The battle of the boards could be the key to the game and TSV Wasserbug head coach Bastian Wernthaler must come up with a strategy to keep Dynamo-GUVD off the glass and for his own team to step up their current rebounding efforts.
|Tatsiana Likhtarovich had a stunning opening game against Kayseri and will now be looking to replicate that display against Telge Basket|
Telge Basket can potentially eradicate their tough Group E debut at Kayseri last week when they welcome Horizont, although the visitors from Minsk will be looking to capitalise on their shock opening night win when they took down Kayseri thanks to a stunning display from Belarus national team player Tatsiana Likhtarovich.
Group F also sees one contest and it could be a potential banana skin for reigning champions Dynamo Kursk who head to Bulgaria to go up against Dunav 8806 who had been expected to struggle but almost caused a major upset by running Adana Botas close last week.
Partizan Galenika are setting the pace in Group G, but their credentials will face a stern test at Dynamo Moscow who are probably still smarting from losing at Basket Landes, although the Russians appear to have taken out their frustration on EuroLeague Women side Spartak M.R. Vidnoje with a stunning 80-62 win over the weekend.
Both clubs have been free-scoring so far, with Milica Dabovic hugely influential for the Serbians, leading the way with over 20 points, six rebounds and five assists per game. Dynamo could have scored even more but they have been struggling on the free-throw line with their 58.5% success rate the fourth worst of any team.
Lastly, Basket Landes will know they probably can't afford to drop a game at home to VS Prague who are yet to find a victory.