EuroLeague Women: Week 13 Review

21 February 2014

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

25. Emanuela Salopek (Kayseri Kaski spor)
Emanuela Salopek and Kayseri Kaski spor
fibeurope.com women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen takes a look back on week thirteen of EuroLeague Women action.

 

QUEENS OF KAYSERI BURY SOME FINAL MISERY

Yes, it was only one victory and in isolation, perhaps no reason to arrange a mardi gras. However, the success this week for Kayseri needs to be measured against a poignant back-drop. Remember last year, when Kayseri imploded on their home court in the EuroCup Women Final second-leg against Dynamo Moscow? A five-digit crowd watched in absolute dismay as their team inexplicably contrived to snatch a stomach-churning defeat from the gaping jaws of victory. It was such a cringeworthy capitulation, that even as a neutral, I was searching for the nearest pillow to hide behind. But, less than 12 months later and in their rookie season at the elite level, Kayseri perhaps laid that ghost to rest a little by grabbing arguably the best win in their history. That is why taking down the reigning EuroLeague Women champions should, and will have tasted so very sweet. Beating a star laden team like UMMC is wonderful, doing it when Diana Taurasi has the hot-hand even more impressive, but to actually complete the job by showing great composure down the stretch instead of crumbling - this is what undeniably stood out the most. Yes, Kayseri would gladly swap the UMMC win for EuroCup success last year, but without that being possible, they do at least now have something to use as a barometer of progress and instill the belief that they can mix it with the heavyweights.

 

10. Zofia Hruscáková (Good Angels Kosice)
Zofia Hruscáková stood out for Good Angels Kosice when they broke the Steel Arena hoodoo this week

THE DREAM DEBUT

One or two people scoffed at the signature of Lynetta Kizer and had questioned her pedigree. Well, the Good Angels Kosice forward rammed those words right down the throats of her doubters. She produced a dream debut for Good Angels Kosice against Beretta Famila Schio with a magnificent double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds to facilitate a first win at Steel Arena this season. It was a monkey Kosice needed to get off their backs ahead of the forthcoming play-offs. It was also noticeable that beneath the headline made by Kizer, the sub-plot showed two very important cameos from youngster Zsofia Hruscakova and also Magdalena Zietara. The pair combined for more than 40 minutes of action, were perfect from the floor and looked after the ball reasonably well. That is where games are mostly won and lost - via the all-important supporting cast.

 

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK

There were three contenders for me this week, of course including the already mentioned wins for Kayseri and Kosice. I also thought UE Sopron winning that game in Montpellier, albeit against a weakened home side was hugely impressive. But, for the reasons outlined above, it's got to be Kayseri who get the gong this week.

 

THE PRODUCTIVE HAND OF PALAU

6. Laia Palau (ZVVZ USK Prague)
Laia Palau is the hottest point guard in EuroLeague Women right now

To simply file away the fact Laia Palau made an incredible fourth double-digit game in assists under ‘number crunching' would be an insult. The ZVVZ USK Prague veteran had her best-ever season for assists last year as an impressive 6.4 per game helped to propel CCC Polkowice to the Final Eight. Well, she continues to hold playmaking clinics this year and has upped her production even more to average a mind-blowing average of 7.6 assists each time she steps out. Unsurprisingly the 34-year-old is top of the charts and if her body continues to hold up, I implore Laia not to even think about retiring. After all, as long as you can play decent defence, the point-guard position remains the true bastion of those with a brilliant basketball brain. Additionally, few have better basketball brains than the effervescent Spaniard.

 

NUMBER CRUNCHING

Perfumerias Avenida became only the second team this season to have twice pulled down more than 50 rebounds in a single game.

Greta Sniokaite of Kibirkstis-VICI Vilnius became the third player this season to make a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line.

Alena Hanusova missed her first free-throw on opening night and has since made a mesmerising 39 consecutive free-throws in a BK Imos Brno vest since then.

You can follow Paul @basketmedia365 for women's basketball tweets.


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