|16 December 2013|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
Title favourites Perfumerias Avenida and Rivas Ecopolis both faltered in Liga Femenina, with rising star Astou Ndour sensational for new title hopefuls Gran Canaria.
NDOUR SETS-UP THREE-HORSE RACE
Astou Ndour produced another scintillating display of poise and power for Gran Canaria 2014 as they grabbed a share of the lead at the top of the table in Liga Femenina to show they have every intention of making it a three-horse race this season.
The FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year candidate dazzled with a phenomenal 25 points and 19 points in a nail-biting 77-74 win at defending champions Perfumerias Avenida.
And, with Rivas Ecopolis also losing via a 55-48 disappointment at Bizkaia GDKO, Gran Canaria can now genuinely start dreaming of silverware behind the stellar work of Ndour and team-mates Brittany Chambers and Chelsea Davis.
BLMA ON THE FRONT FOOT IN FRANCE
After claiming a memorable success at leaders Tango Bourges, there was more joy for Lattes Montpellier at the top of the LFB after they comprehensively dismantled fellow title rivals Villeneuve d'Ascq 68-52 on the road. Geraldine Robert was the tormentor with a typically influential offering of 17 points, eight rebounds and five steals as BLMA drew level with Villeneuve on 10 wins and two losses.
Both clubs are now chasing Bourges once again, who re-claimed outright leadership of the standings courtesy of a dominant 83-66 win against Basket Landes. Marianna Tolo continued her impressive debut season for the champions with nine of ten floor shooting in a 20 point haul.
There is an intense battle to avoid relegation brewing, with no fewer than five teams locked up at the bottom of the standings. They include EuroCup Women eighth-finalists Tarbes Gespe Bigorre, who were soundly beaten at fellow strugglers Hainaut Basket, despite 18 points and eight rebounds by Jovana Rad.
Nantes Reze are slowly steering themselves away from the danger zone after finding their offensive rhythm in a 101-86 win at USO Mondeville, as six players reached double-figures, including Marielle Amant who had 21 points.
SCHIO BEAT RIVALS IN LANDMARK GAME
|Elodie Godin's 24 points, 13 rebounds double-double fueled Famila Schio in their 1000th league game|
Beretta Famila Schio are now level at the top of the classifications with Passalacqua Ragusa, after beating the former table-toppers in what was a landmark game for the Italian champions.
They chose the perfect time to collect an entertaining 85-76 success against their main rivals, since it was their 1000th game in the top division.
However, it wasn't an Italian, but a French player who stole the show, as Elodie Godin continued her good start to the season.
She racked up a very impressive 24 points, 13 rebounds and seven steals on a memorable night for the home club.
DYNAMO KURSK ON THE RISE IN RUSSIA
Dynamo Kursk followed up their safe passage into the last sixteen of EuroCup Women last week by edging ever closer to the top three in the Russian Premier League with another vital victory.
A week after stunning leaders UMMC Ekaterinburg in a spectacular shootout, they won a 69-67 thriller against Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje.
Evgenia Belyakova had the chance to stop the Kursk revival in its' tracks but couldn't convert for Sparta&K in the dying seconds, whilst Seimone Augustus torched her former employers for 20 points. Sonja Petrovic had 23 points in defeat.
UMMC and Dynamo Moscow are both still co-leaders with 7-1 records after picking up victories over the weekend. The former bounced back to winning ways with a comfortable 72-54 win against Nadezhda Orenburg, thanks to a combined 29 points from Diana Taurasi and Sandrine Gruda.
Dynamo had Nadezhda Grishaeva on-song with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds in a 64-52 success against Enisey Krasnoyarsk, having opted to rest Lindsay Whalen and Tatiana Vidmer.
EuroCup Women competitors Spartak Noginsk are still winless after eight games in the wake of a 72-68 reverse at Energia Ivanovo, whilst Dynamo Novosibirsk also continue to struggle after Liudmila Sapova scored 19 points and dished up six assists for Chevakata Vologda in a 73-69 victory.
STILL GO-TIME FOR GALATASARAY
|Unusual role of top-scorer for Isil Alben as she poured in 22 points for Galatasaray odeabank on the weekend|
It's now a superb eleven wins on the bounce for TKBL leaders Galatasaray odeabank who claimed a terrific 84-72 win at nearest challengers Kayseri Kaskispor.
No fewer than five players reached double-digits in an extraordinary shooting performance aside from Nevriye Yilmaz, who drew a blank but did haul down 11 rebounds.
Isil Alben led the way with 22 points, whilst Alba Torrens had 16 points and six assists. Tanisha Wright sunk 24 points for the losing team, with Camille Little adding 19 points and 11 boards.
It means Fenerbahce are now level with Kayseri in second place, although they were made to work hard against the still winless TED Ankara to take a 71-59 win.
French center Isabelle Yacoubou secured 12 points and 11 rebounds, but the pick for Fenerbahce was Agnieszka Bibrzycka, who finished up with an efficient team-high 16 points.