|29 November 2013|
fibeurope.com women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen takes a look back on the fourth week of EuroLeague Women action.
|7,855 turned out to support the Good Angels Kosice against UMMC Ekaterinburg|
SILK AND STEEL A PERFECT COMBINATION
The Steel Arena in Kosice was a magnificent setting for a record-breaking night as the biggest regular season crowd in the history of the competition turned out to see the hometown favourites and reigning champions UMMC Ekaterinburg.
First off, a huge amount of credit needs to be given to Good Angels President Robert Jano and General Manager Daniel Jendrichovsky for executing a great moment for the competition and for women's basketball in Europe, by moving the game to this larger Arena.
Secondly, the players from both teams and especially the underdog hosts deserve all the plaudits in the world for not disappointing the near-8,000 supporters by producing a blockbuster and superb advert for the women's game.
Sure, the result was disappointing for Good Angels fans, but I am sure everyone will continue telling their neighbours, friends, family and colleagues about an incredible night of women's basketball and the drama that unfolded. That is what truly matters.
Of course with such a superb platform and backdrop, who else but Candace Parker took centre stage? What a performance by the 2013 Final Eight MVP as she provided the silk by landing the best double-double of her career with 35 points and 16 rebounds.
I am sure there will be more bedroom posters being put up of Parker in coming weeks which is fantastic and rightly so. I also hope that the likes of Europeans such as Miljana Bojovic, Farhiya Abdi, Lucia Kupcikova and Co inspired many of those supporters checking out Good Angels for the first time, too.
DIKEOULAKOS CAN DELIVER FOR NADEZHDA
Scratch under the surface of alleged locker-room disharmony and a seemingly insurmountable 0-4 EuroLeague Women record and perhaps all is not as bleak as it may seem for newly installed Nadezhda Orenburg play-caller George Dikeoulakos.
The tenure of the Greek coach almost started with a stunning road win at his former club Fenerbahce and whilst his team couldn't quite squeeze out what would have been a fabulous result, the performance was heartening.
It is also noticeable that three of their four losses have all been on the road and therefore the remainder of the fixtures are heavily skewed towards their own floor.
This means that without the travelling to contend with, home comforts and making their own court a fortress could yet throw Nadezhda a Final Eight lifeline.
Although at 0-4, they have practically given themselves absolutely no margin for error and even if Dikeoulakos does spark a revival, you can't help but wonder if that one home loss on the very first day of the season against BLMA might come back and haunt them.
|Milica Dabovic delievered another big performance to lead Novi Zagreb to their first win of the season|
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
There are loads of contenders this week and not least Sparta&K M.R.Vidnoje for getting their first win of the season against CCC Polkowice and also ZVVZ USK Prague for inflicting a first defeat of the campaign on a tough Galatasaray odeabank.
However, I am going to hand the gong to WBC Novi Zagreb for gutting out a narrow home success against Kibirkstis-VICI Vilnius.
Sure, Kibirkstis aren't a giant (even if they have been the surprise package with two wins from their first two games) and the Croatians will have been expected to beat them.
But, after a demoralising and lengthy losing streak of 10 defeats in the competition spanning across this season and last, winning any game is much easier said than done - especially when a tight contest and with the spectre of an eleventh straight loss looming large.
Congratulations to Serbian ace Milica Dabovic for being the top performer last week and for the 27-point performance which got her team off the mark for the season - as did a brilliant double-double effort inside the paint from Luca Ivankovic.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK
Just seeing so many people inside the Steel Arena to watch EuroLeague Women was a moment to cherish for everyone who loves and celebrates women's basketball.
7,855 was the record breaking number of spectators for a regular season game. It was the fifth highest attendance for any women's game at any level to be played on European soil.
The 35 points scored by Candace Parker was not only the highest haul of her career, but also the highest individual score by any player in the competition so far this season.
Parker also became the first player to pull down 13 defensive rebounds in a game.
The American star also became the first player to reach double-digits in fouls drawn, with 11 committed against her by Good Angels, highlighting just how hot she was to handle.
Luca Ivankovic posted the most efficient floor-shooting performance of the season with 88.9% for WBC Novi Zagreb as part of a super 17 points against Kibirkstis-VICI.
Milica Dabovic took credit for a game-high score for the Croatian club, but she also did the job defensively too, by becoming the first player to secure a super six steals in a game this season.
Novi Zagreb also had to contend with another big night from the perimeter from Kibirkstis, who scored 7-of-10 from downtown - the best percentage of any team so far.
BK Imos Brno squeezed past BLMA for a vital home win and had to do so by making a perfect 1- of-11 from the line - becoming the only team not to miss after taking double-figure free-throws.
You can follow Paul @basketmedia365 for women's basketball tweets.