Game Of The Week: Kosice v Bourges

16 December 2013

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

15. Miljana Bojovic (Good Angels Kosice)
Unfinished business to take care of: Miljana Bojovic and Good Angels Kosice

Good Angels Kosice playmaker Miljana Bojovic is out for payback when her team entertain Tango Bourges in front of another potential record-breaking crowd at the Steel Arena in Kosice this week.

Both clubs meet for the first time since their battle for third place at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight back in March and Bojovic is keen to make up for losing to the French club who only had a threadbare roster in Ekaterinburg.

She explained "I expect a tough game and honestly, I feel this is unfinished business from last year at the Final Eight from our perspective.

"Bourges will be a strong opponent and they like playing aggressive defence and winning with a low points margin, but if we manage to play our game from the first minute, it should be interesting game to see."

Women's basketball fever is undoubtedly gripping the Slovakian city.

After breaking the regular season record last time when a crowd of 7,855 flocked to the Arena to see their local heroes dramatically edged out by reigning champions UMMC Ekaterinburg, there could possibly be an even bigger crowd this time.

"Even now, two weeks after playing UMMC, I have a bitter-sweet feeling about the game because it ended with a loss," confessed the guard.

"It would have been great if we won that game, not just because of the result, but because of all those people that came to support and see us.

"It was a great advertisement for women's basketball in general, but I am thrilled to see that the citizens of Kosice are starting to appreciate all the work and effort the management and players are giving to this club.

"It has grown so much during the last couple of years, both in terms of organisation and the quality of basketball - now people recognise that.

"The results we have made up until now have been great, but there is still a long way to go," continued Bojovic.

"Our aims are high and we will fight in every game to have home-court advantage in the play-offs and with the fans we have, it will help us a lot.

"There is always a place for improvement, but I am glad that even if we are not at our best, we are able to win against very strong opponents.

"It's hard to predict anything this season in EuroLeague Women in general, not just in Group A because the competition is relatively well-balanced and very competitive - anybody can beat anybody.

"Certainly Group A has been named the group of death and with good reason."

Form Guide: Good Angels Kosice have lost once this season domestically in the Middle European League to UE Sopron and once in EuroLeagueWomen to UMMC Ekaterinburg. They sit with a 3-1 record in Group A, whilst Bourges are teetering with a 1-3 record after a poor start with losses to Famila Schio, UMMC and Kayseri Kaski spor. Bourges lead the French League and have lost only once in the LFB.

 

30. Johannah Leedham (Bourges Basket)
Johannah Leedham's outside game migh prove pivotal for  Tango Bourges

The Hot Hands: Plenette Pierson didn't particularly enjoy her first trip to the Steel Arena against UMMC (4/15 from the field for eight points), although she has generally been the driving force for Kosice. She is averaging 20.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and has been real handful, drawing more fouls than any other player in the competition. Tijana Krivacevic and Yelena Leuchanka have also been efficient inside and put together a succession of smart displays. EuroLeagueWomen rookie Marianna Tolo has been a tower of strength for Bourges, with the Australian center shooting 62.5% from the field and coming into the game off the back of a nine of ten floor-shooting display in the French League.

‘X Factors' & Match Ups: This game is probably going to be dictated by who can do the better job at setting the tempo. The hosts are more likely to want to push the ball hard and get scores in transition, with Bourges perhaps more content with a half-court game and grinding out the result by wearing Kosice down. Hence Bojovic and Celine Dumerc will be instrumental. Leuchanka against Tolo will be particularly fun, as will Endene Miyem, possibly tracking Pierson - although if both teams employed a zone defence it could be a war of attrition. Neither shoot the ball well from outside, but Cathy Joens or Johannah Leedham are two players who have the capacity to bust the zone for Bourges- but who will Kosice rely on to do the same as the worst three-point shooting team in the competition? Somebody needs to step up.

Did you know? Miljana Bojovic averages 10.5 assists in home games compared to five assists on the road. Opposing playmaker Celine Dumerc is a class act, but enduring her worst start to a EuroLeague Women season, shooting a below-par 27% so far. However, she scored 24 points the last time the teams met and is currently engaged in a real duel with Laia Palau of ZVVZ USK Prague in trying to get into the top five of the competitions' all-time assists leaders.


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