BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Nnemkadi Ogwumike's 29 points powered CCC Polkowice to victory over arch rivals Wisla Can-pack|
There were some disappointing results for both Fenerbahce and Wisla Can-pack ahead of this weeks' EuroLeague Women play-offs, with both teams slumping to domestic losses.
Buoyed by the decision last Friday to hand extended contracts for next season to Cappie Pondexter, Ivana Matovic and Anastasiya Verameyenka, the feel-good factor didn't last long for Fenerbahce as the Turkish League leaders suffered their second defeat of the season.
Having suffered their first loss just a couple of games ago, Fenerbahce went down 87-84 at Tarsus Belediye for whom Delisha Milton-Jones and Melisa Can both impressed, combining for 41 points against a strong Fener frontcourt. But Danielle Robinson was the real star, picking up 18 points alongside nine assists.
The result enabled Galatasaray to close the gap at the top of the Turkish League, although they left it late to win 73-59 at Besiktas. Unable to utilise recent signing Lindsey Harding who was fulfilling prior commitments at the NBA All-Star game, Gala struggled to impose themselves against the resurgent hosts, but an Alba Torrens-inspired 18-6 final quarter eventually swung the result their way. Isil Alben made six triples on her way to her season high of 22 points
Mersin and Kayseri Kaski spor consolidated third and fourth spot after strolling to wins against Samsun Basket and Canik Belediye respectively.
On the last day of the regular season in the Polish League, the positive run of CCC Polkowice during 2013 continued with a terrific 75-61 win at arch rivals Wisla, which was far from ideal preparation for the hosts ahead of their play-off series with Bourges.
Even a 30-point performance from Tina Charles wasn't enough to prevent the home team from crashing, as Polkowice was fuelled by 29 points from Nnemkadi Ogwumike. Notably the fit-again Sharnee Zoll had an encouraging 12 points for the visitors, who will face Nadezhda in an attempt to reach their first ever Final Eight. They will have no shortage of confidence, having finished top of the table with a record of 17 wins and only a solitary loss. Wisla signed off with a 14-4 record, both teams eventually separated by second placed Artego Bydgoszcz who have had a fine year.
The quarter-final participants in the French Cup are also known following the weekend. Favourites Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration and Bourges Basket both advance but they each had to work hard to grind out successes on the road, the former managing a 59-52 win at Aix-en-Provence courtesy of 19 points from Geraldine Robert, and the latter riding out 54-47 winners at Villeneuve D'Ascq.
They will be joined in the last eight by Arras after a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds by veteran Sandra Dijon helped get past Hainaut 75-68. Anais Le Gluher-Cano poured in 24 points for Basket Landes who won 81-72 at Tarbes, whilst there were also relatively comfortable victories for Nante Reze, Charleville and USO Mondeville.
The top three in Liga Femenina all found wins as Rivas Ecopolis destroyed Ciudad de Burgos 86-51 with Oleksandra Kurasova and Queralt Casas combining for 39 points; Perfumerias Avenida crushed Cadi ICG Software 72-52 on home soil and third placed Uni Spar Girona prevailed 49-42 at Hondarribia-Irun.