Cras Look To Avoid Early Exit


EuroLeague Women

6. Michelle Greco (Cras Basket Taranto)
Taranto will have to make do without the services of Michelle Greco in the Prague game as well

For Cras Basket Taranto, it's simple.

Either they win on Friday in the Czech Republic to force a deciding Game 3 in their EuroLeague Women Eighth-Finals clash with Prague, or they lose and serve as another example as to why finishing top of a group in the Qualifying Round means absolutely nothing once the play-offs are underway.

Remember Taranto's fellow Italians Venezia back in 2009, when they came in first in Group B with seven wins and three defeats but then lost to MiZo Pecs in the Eighth-Finals play-offs, 2-0?

Rivas Ecopolis went a surprising 7-3 to end up top of Group C last season but then fell 2-1 to Frisco Sika Brno in the Eighth-Finals.

This season, Taranto finished top of Group A with a 7-3 record but crashed spectacularly in the second half at home in Italy, 73-56.

Taranto's fans watched stunned as their team allowed ZVVZ USK Prague turn a 39-35 half-time deficit into a laugher.

Cras coach Roberto Ricchini is not one to panic.

"In 48 hours, you can change certain tactical solutions after analyzing the previous game," he said.

"The key will be to change the mentality.

"That is why in the Czech Republic, the team will have to give everything to beat the rival and believe it's possible to succeed."

Ricchini, whose comments were carried on the club website, says much can be learned by studying the video replay of the game, and the statistics.

"The day after allowed us to look at the mistakes we made and the things that we could salvage and try to find tranquility in view of Friday's game," he said.

"Prague have a well-organized team and a talented one.

"We gave 19 (offensive) rebounds away to our rivals and that meant giving away shots, many of which turned to three-pointers that greatly hurt us.

"That is where our problems began, because when we played zone, we only suffered two shots from outside the perimeter.

"It has been when we played man-to man."

With that in mind, don't be surprised if Cras sit back in a zone.

Cras will still be without Michelle Greco, who is out with a thigh injury.

"We need to play united to come out unharmed from Prague," Ricchini said.

"I believe it's possible. I said it right after Tuesday's match. We have lost a battle but the war remains open. "

The club also didn't make Sophia Young their big signing late in the Qualifying Round to have her then shoot one of 11 inside the arc on Tuesday.

"From Young and the rest of my players, I expect an intense basketball," the coach said.



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