BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Asjha Jones did the bulk of the work for EuroCup Women semi-finalists Kayseri Kaski spor, scoring 22 points as they upset Galatasaray|
There were some heavyweight casualties around Europe over the weekend as Galatasaray slumped in the Turkish League and Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje experienced a fourth loss in Russia.
Benefiting from Fenerbahce losing for the first time this season during the previous round, Galatasaray immediately blew the opportunity to go to the top of the table, subsequently falling to a 72-68 defeat at EuroCup Women semi-finalists Kayseri Kaski spor.
Not only did they lose the game, they also lost second spot in the standings to Kayseri who have the number over Gala this year, having already defeated them earlier in the campaign. Asjha Jones did the bulk of the damage with 22 points, although it was a three-pointer in the clutch by 21-year-old Pinar Demirok which sealed the deal. Alba Torrens had 19 points for the losing team.
Fenerbahce bounced back to winning ways with ease, Birsel Vardarli shining in a 72-57 home-floor win against Antakya. Mersin and Tarsus both continued their excellent form of late to consolidate top-five spots. Israeli guard Shay Doron poured in 27 points for Tarsus in an 83-70 win against Canik Belediye whilst Shavonte Zellous amassed 26 points as Mersin claimed a 77-67 success against TED Ankara.
UMMC Ekaterinburg Domination Continues In Russia
The up-and-down season of Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje continues in the Russian League after dropping to an 8-4 record for the season to date, after being edged out in agonising fashion at Nadezhda.
The home side prevailed 80-79 in a real thriller to hand new head coach Algirdas Paulauskas first-up domestic success. Renee Montgomery top-scored with 23 points and Dewanna Bonner landed a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Seimone Augustus and Marina Kuzina each scored 19 points for Sparta&K.
Leaders UMMC Ekaterinburg continued to dominate, claiming a 78-52 success at Spartak Noginsk, courtesy of 18 points from Sandrine Gruda. It also continues to be a fine campaign for Dynamo Moscow who retain second spot after a 78-69 win against Energia Ivanovo. Crystal Langhorne continued her scorching form with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
|Pauline Akonga has been integral in Arras turning a page in the New Year|
Arras Dogged In Their Fight For Survival
Arras are doing everything they can to escape from relegation trouble in the French League after claiming a superb 75-71 home win against leaders Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration. Dawn Evans and Pauline Akonga combined for 38 points as Arras moved to five wins, although they are still adrift of their four closest rivals in the standings, who are all sitting on seven wins.
One of those teams is EuroLeague Women protagonists USO Mondeville who slumped to an eleventh loss of the season via a 69-58 defeat at Charleville. Hope is most certainly running out for Hainaut Basket who are still rooted to the bottom of the table after a 64-60 reverse at Tarbes.
At the opposite end of the table, second place Bourges are ready to pounce on BLMA and are now just one loss behind the leaders after a crushing 77-48 win at Toulouse as Great Britain star Johannah Leedham grabbed 16 points.
Overtime Thriller In Italy
One of the most thrilling games of the weekend came in the Italian League where great rivals Famila Schio and defending champions Taranto locked horns. The game lived up to expectations, with Schio riding out 74-71 winners in an overtime thriller. Jen Nadalin had 17 points for Schio who retain top spot with an impressive 12-1 record.
Avenida Pushed In Spain
There was a narrow squeak for Perfumerias Avenida in Liga Femenina as the title chasers almost lost ground on leaders Rivas Ecopolis. Hondarribia-Irun nearly brought the conquerors of UMMC Ekaterinburg back down to earth but were just edged out 81-78. Rivas Ecopolis remain one loss better off than Avenida after a thirteenth win in fourteen games, by way of a convincing 68-51 success against Cadi ICG with Hungarian guard Katalin Honti claiming 17 points.