Round-Up: Rivas, Wisla Look To Remain Unbeaten

01 December 2009

All eyes will be on Poland this week in the EuroLeague Women to see if Wisla Can-Pack Krakow and Rivas Ecópolis can continue their unbeaten starts to the campaign.

Wisla host Halcon Avenida while fellow 5-0 side Rivas travel to KSSSE AZS-PWSZ Gorzow.

Both undefeated teams are big surprises.

Wisla only joined the competition after the financial meltdown of CSKA Moscow while Rivas are newcomers.

Wisla have had such a strong start that Spanish coach Jose Hernández, who joined in the summer from long-time club Avenida in Salamanca, is being asked if he could be tempted to remain for a longer time than expected.

"It is too early to talk about it, but it is possible," he said.

"I feel very comfortable in Krakow, which is a beautiful city. The support of the club allows me to believe that if all goes well, I can stay here."

Wisla did a very good job preparing for the season in terms of acquiring players.

One who joined is Janell Burse, a player with a  lot of experience in Europe.

The 30-year-old, a former star at Dynamo Moscow and ZVVZ USK Prague, is pouring in 18 points, grabbing a league-best 13 boards and swatting 1.6 shots per contest.

Three other Wisla players are averaging 12 points or more per game, including summer signing Iziane of Brazil.

Asked about the newcomers to the club, the coach said: "They are very good players that are excellent choices in our budgets.

"Iziane is great on offense and I think her arrival has increased our attacking power."

This week may be the biggest hurdle so far for Wisla as they go up against Avenida again.

Since that first game, a 65-60 Wisla win, Avenida have turned on the style with four straight victories in the EuroLeague Women.

They have a newcomer who is hugely important to their chances in Sancho Lyttle.

The former Ibiza star is averaging 16 points, 9.6 points and 2.2 steals per game in Europe.

The Rivas Rookies

Unlike Wisla, a club that had competed in the EuroLeague Women before, Rivas are first-timers although they are not playing like rookies.

One of their leading players, Crystal Langhorne, did have experience in the competition.

The American who is averaging 16.8 points and 8.4 rebounds for Rivas played for TEO Vilnius last season.

Rivas have been so successful this season and there has been such a wonderful atmosphere at home games that the club decided to pay tribute to its fans this week on the club's website, perhaps in the hope that the supporters will continue to rival those of Avenida where the home-court advantage is second to none in Spain.

Under the headline ‘Thanks To The Fans For Your Unconditional Support', a Rivas statement said: "Rivas Basket Ecópolis wants to send a message of thanks to the fans since the team has been focused from the start of the season. For us, it is essential that you will be always supporting the team."

Rivas gave a special thanks to the section of fans who beat the drums and constantly chant, the Peña Pasión Roja (Red Passion Peña).

"The whole club is very grateful to you and we are at your disposal, and will continue working hard to wear with pride the name of Rivas to all corners of Spain and Europe," the club said.

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