It's no secret, and every team knows it. Stop Katie Douglas and you will have a very good chance of beating Lietuvos Telekomas.
The problem is that stopping Douglas is about as easy as stopping a runaway locomotive. The 26-year-old American has been the biggest key for Algirdas Paulauskas's Lithuanian side reaching the FIBA EuroLeague Final Four.
The former NCAA champion at Purdue scored 20 or more points in 10 of her last 12 EuroLeague games. She averaged 6.7 rebounds 2.4 assists (both second best on the team), and came up with a team-high 3.6 steals per contest in a workhorse-like 37.8 minutes on the floor.
And Douglas' effort hasn't been lost on the EuroLeague faithful as she was the top vote-getter for the All Star Game.
|Katie Douglas is averaging a EuroLeague Women-best 20.7 points per game .|
In the games that count, Douglas has been on fire and the theory holds true that if you stop Douglas you stop Lietuvos.
The Lithuanian club, whom Douglas led to a third place finish in last season's Final Four, lost three of their 10 qualifying round games in Group C.
Dynamo Moscow held Douglas to six of 17 shooting in a 52-43 victory in Russia.
Douglas scored 26 points in Telekomas' 81-69 loss at Phard Napoli, but the Italians held her to just two of eight from behind the three-point arc.
The two-time EuroLeague Women champions US Valenciennes Olympic saw Douglas score 25 points, but the forward didn't have enough help to beat the balanced French powers.
Jurgita Streimikyte scored 20 points and Sandra Valuzyte chipped in 12 points for the Lithuanian side but the rest of the team tallied just four points. And that is not enough against USVO, who had five players score at least nine points.
The 33-year-old veteran power forward Streimikyte is the closest thing Douglas has had to a side-kick. The Lithuanian is the only other player to average more than 10 points per game (12.7) and she has led the team in rebounds (7.0 per game).
Douglas got more help in the opening game of the eighth-finals against
|Douglas will need help from Jurgita Streimikyte in order to advance in the Final Four|
She scored 23 points but saw Ieva Kublina contribute 12 points while Valuzyte added 10 points and nine rebounds in a 71-62 home victory.
In Italy, Douglas dominated with 23 points, eight rebounds, three assists and seven steals in leading Telekomas to a 62-52 win and a berth in the quarter-finals. Kublina was the only other player to score in double figures for Paulauskas's team.
Despite 24 points by Douglas, Lietuvos Telekomas dropped the first game of the quarters at MiZo Pecs 79-66.
The support again was lacking as only Streimikyte could reach double figures in scoring with 14 points.
Facing elimination on her home court, Douglas was her usual self with 21 points. But Streimikyte, Valuzyte and Irena Baranauskaite all scored at least 14 points in an excellent show of support of their star forward.
It all came down to game three in Hungary.
Douglas picked the wrong game to struggle, scoring "just" 16 points – still a team-high - on four of 15 shooting.
But Streimikyte added 13 and Kublina 11 points and Douglas came up big in the clutch situations to give Telekomas a thrilling 63-59 victory and their second straight Final Four appearance.
With her team down 55-50 with five minutes left, Douglas hit a three-pointer.
Then she hit two free throws with 17 seconds to give Lietuvos Telekomas a 61-59 lead, and they held on.
Douglas & Co now get a chance for revenge when they face defending champions BC Volgaburmash in a re-match of last season's semi-final. The Russian powers did a decent job against Douglas in last season's showing, holding the star to eight of 18 shooting in scoring 17 points.
Again proving that if you stop - or slow down enough - Katie Douglas, you have a good chance of winning. Lietuvos Telekomas hope Douglas will be unstoppable in the Final Four.