|Hi Zuzana! Welcome back|
fibaeurope.com women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen takes a look back on week twelve of EuroLeague Women action.
RELISHING ZIRKOVA RETURN
The sight of Slovakian legend Zuzana Zirkova holding up a Good Angels Kosice vest this week was a sight to behold and I really hope the guard can find some fitness and form. To see a class act like her back in the competition and potentially also making a return to the national team after a five year hiatus is superb. To expect too much of her would be foolish and in her comments to the media, she was very realistic. But, even just her experience, court smarts and shooting abilities alone, will be a welcome boost for play-caller Maros Kovacik - both from a club and country perspective.
AVENIDA BURY ROAD BLUES
They did their very best to continue their torturous losing streak away from home by almost blowing a big lead with a horrendous late drought, but Perfumerias Avenida finally got the long overdue road win they craved by sneaking past gutsy WBC Novi Zagreb by a single point. I have no doubt that for numerous reasons, head coach Victor Lapena will have breathed a huge sigh of relief. These things can become an unwanted psychological issue and certainly losing to struggling Zagreb, Kibirkstis VICI-Vilnius and CCC Polkowice on the road would not have been good. Particularly because Avenida need to demonstrate they can win on the road for the play-offs. If they do make it Final Eight, they obviously can't rely on the impressive home comfort they draw from the support back in Salamanca at Pabellon Wurzburg.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
|No Gil, no problem for Frida Eldebrink and Rivas Ecopolis who had an eye-catching performance this week|
There were mostly expected wins for many of the favourite teams this week, but the emphatic road success for Rivas Ecopolis at BK Imos Brno was arguably the standout performance. The margin of victory, the fact it was a big banana skin in waiting and the disruption with losing Laura Gil recently made this Rivas victory particularly eye-catching.
COULD PETROVIC TAKE SERBIA TO ANOTHER LEVEL?
I get it. It's complicated. It's Serbian women's basketball and nothing seems to be straightforward - even when very impressive success is being delivered. Seeing Sonja Petrovic play the way she did for Sparta&K against Kibirkstis and indeed how she has played all season, reminds us of just what level of talent she has in her locker. However, it seems that a lot of water has flowed under the bridge as far as the national team is concerned and there may still be more to follow. It seems like Petrovic pulling on a Serbian national team vest again at the forthcoming FIBA World Championship for Women is not the kind of ‘no brainer' most neutrals would demand. It is a reminder that having all your players available, then simply picking your best 12 players is never the realistic situation for some, if not most national team coaches such as Marina Maljkovic. It's a real conundrum, because Serbia have performed so well without her and you can see the logic in maintaining the status quo, but not having a genuine game-winner on board is also difficult to comprehend. Yes, it's complicated and we will see how it unfolds in coming months, but congratulations to Sonja and Sparta&K in the meantime for their efforts.
You can follow Paul @basketmedia365 for women's basketball tweets.