BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Isil Alben and Galatasaray odeabank have turned into regular cup winners, winning their fifth title in a row|
Galatasaray odeabank continued their iron grip on the Turkish Cup over the weekend after securing their fifth title a row.
Isil Alben produced an efficient 15 points and grabbed five rebounds in an MVP performance to inspire a 76-70 win against arch rivals Fenerbahce - the fourth time they have beaten their arch rivals during their winning streak.
Fenerbahce may be dominating in the Turkish Championship Finals, but were again left disappointed by missing out on this valuable mid-season piece of silverware.
Galatasaray were always on the front-foot and held the upper hand throughout the contest, until a late surge by Fenerbahce made it a one-shot game with just over 20 seconds left.
Cappie Pondexter had an opportunity to complete the comeback with a triple attempt, but couldn't get it to drop and Galatasaray wrapped things up from the free-throw line.
Isabelle Yacoubou finished with 16 points in defeat, whilst EuroBasket Women MVP Sancho Lyttle fell one rebound short of a double-double for the Cup winners.
CHEVAKATA HIT BY GOODRICH BLOW
With only a matter of days until their crucial EuroCup Women eighth-final clash with Mersin Buyuksehir, Russian side Chevakata Vologda have revealed Angelisha Goodrich will not be returning to the club.
The guard returned home to the States recently, but has opted to remain there for family reasons having averaged seven points, three rebounds and three assists in the competition.
Chevakata had some breathing space over the weekend since they didn't have a game in the Russian Premier League, but one club who certainly did and made the most of it was Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje.
They routed neighbours and EuroCup Women champions Dynamo Moscow 77-56 in the local derby game.
Another hugely impressive success came in Orenburg as Nadezhda snapped the run of Bo Overton with Dynamo Kursk. The visitors were outplayed in a convincing 79-64 win for George Dikeoulakos and his players, as DeWanna Bonner led the way with 26 points and nine rebounds.
Energia Ivanovo defeated Dynamo Novosibirsk with a valuable 73-64 road win, whilst leaders UMMC Ekaterinburg pulverised Spartak Noginsk 108-57, with center duo Ewelina Kobryn and Maria Stepanova both registering double-doubles in points and rebounds.
WONDERFUL WIN FOR WISLA AT RIVALS
|Jantel Lavender and Wisla Can-Pack are on a good way of re-establishing dominance in Poland|
Wisla Can-Pack wrapped up a magnificent first part of the Polish domestic season by completing an eye-catching 73-63 success at defending champions CCC Polkowice, to move to 18-0 for the season in the BLK.
Jantel Lavender was the standout player for the Krakow based outfit with 20 points and nine boards, whilst Russian national team guard Valeriya Musina fired a game-high 25 points for the disappointed hosts.
Artego Bydgoszcz are in third place after downing fourth placed Energa Torun 67-52, thanks to 15 points from Jessica Lawson who also harvested 12 rebounds.
AVENIDA ARE RAMPANT IN LIGA FEMENINA
Liga Femenina leaders Perfumerias Avenida Salamanca still look most likely to finish top of the heap in Spain after opening up 2014 with an awesome display of talent and power at fourth placed Burgos.
They completed a crushing 80-40 win, with Shay Murphy plundering 23 points in just 24 minutes of action.
Rivas Ecopolis are back in second place courtesy of 19 points from Rachael Allison, who paved the way for a comfortable 74-54 win at Alimentos de Zamora who had new signing Shameka Christon on board after her recent switch from Lattes Montpellier.
The other reason for Rivas moving up was that Gran Canaria 2014 slumped to a 78-67 home loss to Gipuzkoa UPV, as they adjust to their recent change of head coach.
GUTSY ROAD WIN KEEPS VILLENEUVE IN CONTENTION
An excellent 74-65 win by third placed Villeneuve d'Ascq at fellow EuroCup Women eighth-final competitors Basket Landes was the most notable result in France as the visitors kept themselves firmly in the title race. Olayinka Sanni excelled in victory with 16 points.
Lattes Montpellier are also locked behind Tango Bourges after Geraldine Robert provided the spark for a 67-57 success at basement dwellers Nice. The forward had 19 and 10 rebounds in the win to maintain the pressure on the leaders who romped to a 79-60 win at UF Angers.
Lyon are continuing to have a productive season under Serbian play-caller Marina Maljkovic and they are in fourth place after German national team player Romy Bar accumulated 19 points in an 87-61 rout of Arras.
Australian Cayla Francis poured in 21 points as Nantes Reze warmed up for their last sixteen tie in EuroCup Women this week with an 83-59 demolition of Hainaut Basket.
Tarbes Gespe Bigorre didn't make it to the eighth-finals, but can at least console themselves by continuing to edge away from relegation troubles domestically, completing a nail-biting 79-75 overtime win against Charleville.