|Makbule Amachree finished with a stellar 17 points, 10 rebounds and four steals for TED Ankara (Ted Ankara)|
In a busy and dramatic night of action in EuroCup Women, five more teams booked their spots in the last sixteen of the competition to join the seven teams who had already qualified for the next phase.
There was nowhere more nerve-shredding than in Belarus, where the pressure was on Olimpia Grodno who had to win their Group B match-up against group leaders and the already qualified Hainaut Basket.
That was because earlier in the day, TED Ankara had stormed past Lotto Young Cats, 81-64, thanks to a stellar 17 points, 10 rebounds and four steals from Makbule Amachree.
Olimpia knew that a win would punch their ticket, but with TED Ankara ready to pounce should they miss their opportunity, Aliaksandr Shimkovyak and his players had to stay focused and hold their nerve in what was an epic struggle to make the next phase.
They eventually did prevail, but it was only after a gripping and spine-tingling 70-65 overtime success. Barely able to shoot over 30% from the floor, Nadzeya Drozd was the saviour with 22 points in an extraordinary contest where it rained three-pointers at the end of regulation as Hainaut threatened to spoil the party. Amanda Houts had five triples in her 19-point haul for the visitors.
Spartak Noginsk knew they had no option but to win against Group C rivals Tarbes if they wanted to keep their qualification hopes alive, but the French visitors ended their hosts' dreams and booked their own berth in the Eighth Finals with a convincing 65-47 win.
Tarbes held their opponent to a meagre five points during the last five minutes to sail into the last sixteen of the tournament. Paoline Salagnac impressed the most with an excellent 16 points.
The result also sparked celebrations in a certain coastal city in Southern Turkey where Mersin rejoiced in also making it to the next phase of the competition - courtesy of Spartak Noginsk losing.
In fact, there was plenty of rejoicing in Turkey full-stop, since both Kayseri Kaski spor and Adana Botas also progressed.
Kayseri Kaski spor routed Telge Basket 80-61 in Sodertalje to finish top of Group E with 2012 EuroLeague Women Final Eight MVP Asjha Jones pouring in 20 points to go with seven rebounds.
|Courtney Paris once more performed impressively for Adana Botas|
Another phenomenal performance by Courtney Paris helped Adana Botas to ease past Dunav8806 Ruse 84-70 in Group F. The center had a monumental 22 points and 18 rebounds but was also well supported by a couple of nice performances by Christi Thomas and Ayse Akinci.
However, one Turkish team who were not celebrating was Antakya. Playing at home against Vilnius Kibirkstis, they missed a golden opportunity to advance with a poor finish seeing them lose 70-66. Rima Valentiene tortured the hosts, going five-for-five from downtown on her way to 18 points.
However, Antakya can still make amends by going through next week if they can beat MBK Ruzomberok in the final game - if not, there would be a three-way tie in the Group. If Antakya win they advance to the next stage of the competition alongside the Lithuanians, but they can still afford to lose by a significant margin to assure they advance with MBK Ruzomberok.
Finally, in the other games to be played on Thursday night, Satu Mare beat SISU in Group A by 86-73 as Utaya Drye claimed 20 points, six rebounds and six assists, whilst in Group D, TSV Wasserburg had little trouble in seeing off BBC Sint-Katelijne-Waver 87-58, thanks mainly to 10 points and 15 rebounds from Melissa Dalembert.