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Regular Season Week 11 Review

29 January 2015
EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

fibaeurope.com's women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen takes a look back at the eleventh week of action of the EuroLeague Women season - Europe's premier women's club competition.

 

13. Quanitra Hollingsworth (Fenerbahce)
Quanitra Hollingsworth has bounced back strongly from injury for Fenerbahce

HOLLINGSWORTH HITTING BACK

I have been following the season of Quanitra Hollingsworth with great interest. The limelight was taken away from her when she lost her naturalised spot with the Turkey national team last summer, as Lara Sanders took her place.

She was then overshadowed by former Galatasaray center, ex WNBA MVP and USA national team star Tina Charles switching to Fenerbahce. There was also the added excitement and headlines around another fellow frontcourt player in the stellar talented Astou Ndour arriving on the Asian side of the Bosphorus strait.

Hollingsworth used to be the big-hitter in many ways - both for her club and her adopted country. While no doubt handsomely rewarded financially for both, it would still be easy to sulk and become a backseat passenger.

However, from the outside looking in, it looks like Hollingsworth is hitting back. Not with extravagant jaw smashing blows and headline contributions, but in boxing parlance, by quietly and effectively landing some nice body shots with real efficiency for her team.

Sure, she is no longer one of the main offensive options. That means taking fewer shots. Which in turn, means making smarter choices and capitalising on the reduced opportunities that are going her way.

Impressively, she has done exactly that. Indeed take a look at the numbers to back this up. She is shooting a brilliant 59.1% from the field and even though she hasn't been scoring heavily, her minutes of almost 25 minutes per game also demonstrate how important she still is.

What will be absolutely fascinating to see, is if any injuries do subsequently occur, is whether she is able to up her offensive production (or if she moves next season). But for now, it's worth nodding in appreciation of the job she is doing for her team as she wanders with some degree of stealth, back onto the women's basketball radar.

 

LEGENDARY STEPANOVA REACHES ANOTHER LANDMARK

It probably slipped under the radar during the heady 106 points amassed by UMMC against visiting Wisla, but women's basketball legend Maria Stepanova has hit another serious career milestone.

Playing her first minutes since way back in early November, she finally got the opportunity to become the first player in EuroLeague Women history to pull down 1,800 rebounds.

She got four against Wisla to move to 1801 and that is a seriously astonishing achievement - even for one of the greatest-ever players to have graced the women's game.

 

MORE MILESTONES FOR BIBA AND PALAU

Another pair of veterans also reached key career milestones this week, when both Agnieszka Bibrzycka and Laia Palau reached 300 steals in the competition.

Only 14 players had managed to accomplish this feat previously in the entire history of the tournament which shows that it is quite an achievement for the duo.

Bibrzycka got two steals for Fenerbahce against CB Avenida and that takes her to 301, while Palau endured a nightmare for Prague with her team-mates who were humbled by visiting Galatasaray odeabank.

While scant consolation on a miserable night for the playmaker, she grabbed the three steals she required to move to 300.


13. Candace Parker (UMMC Ekaterinburg)
Candace Parker UMMC Ekaterinburg blew past the previous high score achieved by a team this season

NUMBER CRUNCHING

UMMC smashed past the previous highest score this season of 96 as they unleashed an offensive deluge against Wisla Can-Pack to eventually rack up a massive 106 points.

The Russian side also achieved their mammoth tally by posting the second-best shooting display by any team this season after making 42 of their 71 shots in a 59.2% effort.

Another Russian team who shot the ball with accuracy this week were Nadezhda - or at least from behind the three-point line. They came up with the best so far this season as they achieved 66.7% with eight triples from 12 attempts.

Heading into the last few weeks of the regular season, there are 13 players shooting more than 50% from the field, five players averaging double-digits on the glass and three players dishing out more than five assists per game.


PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK

There were three results which really stood out for me this week and they included Nadezhda claiming a hard fought home success against the in-form Beretta Famila Schio and Agu Spor Kulubu having to fight hard to shrug off the quality of Tango Bourges in Kayseri. However, you can't ignore Galatasaray taking a spectacular 29-point victory at ZVVZ USK Prague which was astonishing considering how much quality Prague have. The level of defence was extremely impressive, even if Prague have clearly got confidence issues and are finding anything and everything offensively a real struggle. It was another week of redemption for Ekrem Memnun and his team as they continue waking up from their first few months of abject slumber.

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"I don't like to speak about players, who were good or bad, but I would like to congratulate Candice Dupree. It is her very first week with our team and she does not remember all our plays but she performs as a real leader both inside and outside the court, she is communicating with other players easily, giving advice and that is wonderful." Nadezhda head George Dikeoulakos doing his utmost to get his new acquisition integrated and feeling loved - and, it proved effective this week.

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