EuroLeague Women Week 6 Review

30.11.2012

PAULBALL

Paul Nilsen

Paul Nilsen is a freelance basketball journalist writing for various websites and publications across Europe.

If you'd like to contact Paul you can e-mail him at paulballnilsen@gmail.com

 

We wait five weeks for some bona-fide incidences of EuroLeague Women history to be made, and then, a bit like waiting eagerly for an overdue bus to arrive, two suddenly come along at once.

 

13. Amaya Valdemoro (Tarsus)
Amaya Valdemoro and her Tarsus teammates celebrated their first win in Group A

TEBRIKLER FOR TERRIFIC TARSUS

Yes, congratulations are due to Turkish newcomers Tarsus Belediye who were one of two history makers during Week 6, as they claimed their first ever EuroLeague Women win with an emphatic success at BK Imos Brno.

In essence, they pretty much threw together a bunch of players during the summer and have had to overcome a lack of continuity, chemistry and also a demanding schedule which saw them play five of their first six games on the road.

Whilst a 1-4 record is hardly ideal at this stage, this win will be a real confidence booster and it was no coincidence they finally emerged victorious on a night when a great start was combined with many players finally performing together.

Melisa Can has been outstanding all season-long, but she was thankfully joined by a number of her team-mates, including the recently signed Shay Doron who had 16 points and seven assists.

Delisha Milton-Jones was overdue a big performance. She's a genuine EuroLeague Women legend and it has been a lean time of late for a player more used to churning out impressive numbers. Consequently it was nice to see one of my favourite players back to her best with a double-double.

Ironically, the win came without Danielle Robinson but when you manage to achieve an incredible uplift in your collective shooting percentage, fast-break points and effectiveness of your defensive ball pressure - it's always likely to make a difference.

What will be interesting is how Tarsus kicks on from this, and whether confidence will flow because on paper, they do have a pretty useful unit now. Erdal Yegin and his team have the potential to be a real handful during the remainder of the season with so many games on home soil.

 

NIGHT TO REMEMBER FOR NOVI ZAGREB

The other page of history came in Zagreb where the hosts got off the mark in similarly comprehensive style with a quite wonderful 82-60 win against USO Mondeville.

I was absolutely delighted for Valdimir Ivankovic and his players but especially for Matea Vrdoljak who was the star of the show with 20 points. For it was kind of fitting a Croatian player in her rookie EuroLeague Women season was the major driving force in the this historical first win.

It would be accurate to say that opportunities for Novi Zagreb to get more wins on the board look a lot slimmer than they do for Tarsus, because Group C is undeniably more difficult.

Still, this will do plenty for women's basketball in Croatia because it was important after the marker laid down by Gospic CO during previous seasons, that Novi Zagreb continued the tradition by showing they can be more than merely competitive and get something tangible in the win column.

 

31. Tina Charles (Wisla Can-Pack)
Tina Charles is averaging a huge double-double of 29.7 points and 12.7 rebounds

THE LATE ARRIVALS

So far, this season is being defined by the positive impact of several late arrivals that either simply joined their team late, or penned a deal after the campaign had started - the aforementioned Shay Doron being a prime example.

But, leading the way of course is WNBA MVP Tina Charles, who claimed a stunning third EuroLeague Women Player Of The Week award in four weeks for Wisla Can-Pack. She has produced an array of sensational displays and whilst shackling her is the first line on the game plan of each opposing team coach, putting this into practice with an effective strategy is another thing altogether.

The addition of Alana Beard has also been instrumental in an upturn in fortune for Wisla, since after a disappointing 0-3 start, she has actually never tasted defeat, having only played in two wins!

Municipal Targoviste have benefitted from the arrival of Monique Currie, another player who enjoyed a winning debut and is yet to taste defeat with the Romanian club having posted a fantastic three-game winning streak. Milka Bjelica has also been a great pick-up for George Dikeoulakos, since the Montenegrin center was a stand-out performer in the latest Group B success against Arras.

Even for those teams with one eye on the biggest prize, there has been an uplift after the integration of players who didn't start the season. Lindsay Whalen at Galatasaray springs to mind and of course, they still have another couple of megastars to welcome back in Nevriye Yilmaz and Alba Torrens!

Now the most pertinent question is whether any clubs who feel they have under-performed so far decide to wield the dreaded axe or to simply bolster their existing roster as we begin to bear down on the halfway point of the Regular Season.

We wait with baited breath - and just like me, I bet you also can't believe just how fast this season is going!


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