|28 January 2014|
Something has to give in EuroLeague Women Group B when the still flawless Fenerbahce tangle with Wisla Can-Pack, who are yet to taste defeat on the road.
It promises to be a fascinating contest, with Wisla-Can Pack guard Allie Quigley keen for the Krakow outfit to continue their hot form outside of Poland by dictating terms in Istanbul.
"We know Fenerbahce can be pretty dangerous in transition, so we expect an up-tempo game," said the 27-year-old.
"I think we need to control the pace of the game and keep their main scorers under control.
"On our end, we need to take care of the ball and win the battle of the boards.
"We know they're going to score, but if we can make every shot a difficult one and only allow one shot, we'll be okay."
Wisla arrive on Turkish soil with a unique feeling so far this season. They will step out boosted by the fact they finally have a home win under their belts, having previously lost their first three encounters on their own territory.
Not that breaking their jinx at home matters so much this week - for Wisla have been imperious on the road and taken maximum points from their travels so far.
"Yes, it felt good to finally get our first win at home," smiled Quigley.
"I think we play with a little extra focus on the road and for some reason, it hasn't been there at home.
"We feel better now though after the first home win and we hope to keep it going."
Very much a star turn for Good Angels Kosice last season by firing her former team to the semi-finals of the competition, she is looking for a repeat with her new club.
Currently playing under Stefan Svitek who also knows Kosice well, in addition to utilising Quigley for the Hungarian national team, it's unsurprising it was a seamless switch from life in the Slovak Republic to playing ball in Poland.
"It's been a smooth transition coming from Kosice to Krakow," stated the Illinois native.
"I already knew the coach and was familiar with some of the players.
"We have had some really good moments on the court, but right now we need to work on our consistency.
"If we can improve in that area and peak at the right time, then I think we have a good shot at the Final Eight."
Form Guide: Leaders Fenerbahce are the only unbeaten team left in EuroLeague Women with seven wins from as many games. After the joy of winning the Presidents' Cup early in the season, they have endured a few domestic setbacks with a couple of losses in the TKBL and missing out on the Turkish Cup to Galatasaray odeabank. However, they are now chasing their rivals hard in second spot in the league. Wisla are 5-3 and in second place in the Group and are the standout team in the Polish League, with a stunning 19-1 record. Fenerbahce won the first meeting between the teams, with a narrow 73-69 victory.
|Right now Angel McCoughtry is one of the hottest commodities in EuroLeague Women|
The Hot Hands: Fenerbahce are one of the deepest teams in the competition and have so many weapons, but Angel McCoughtry is really shining this year with 17.3 points from 57% floor-shooting and 3.3 steals per game at the defensive end - the best in the tournament. Center Isabelle Yacoubou is also playing well in her first year in Turkey with 10 points and over seven rebounds per game. Wisla have been led brilliantly by Jantel Lavender, who signed last summer and has repeated the scintillating form she showed for Famila Schio. She is the leading scorer in EuroLeague Women with a fabulous 22.2 points per game and third in rebounding with 10.4 each time she steps out. Lavender already has five double-doubles in her first seven outings.
‘X Factors' & Match Ups: Stefan Svitek used to coach McCoughtry in Kosice and it will be interesting if he can find a way to blunt her undeniable influence on this Fenerbahce side, although Roberto Iniguez has so many other weapons at his disposal . As alluded to, tempo will be important and so how Cristina Ouvina plays in the backcourt for Wisla will be imperative - as will the Polish side making some outside shots via the likes of Quigley. There will be some monumental match-ups inside and the visitors will have to really excel on the boards, because the hosts are not liable to giving up too many second chance opportunities. Zane Tamane is going back to her old club and it will be interesting to see how she performs against one of her successors, namely Anastasiya Verameyenka. Lavender against Yacoubou is also a great prospect.
Did you know? Tamane reached 500 EuroLeague Women rebounds in her last game against BK Imos Brno, whilst opposing center Anastasiya Verameyenka needs only three more blocks to become only the third player in the history of the competition to reach the landmark of 150. Fenerbahce have won their last eight games against Polish competition and you have to go back to 2009 for their last defeat when they went down to Lotos PKO BP.