BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Aneika Henry led Rivas Ecopolis to Copa De La Reina success with a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double |
There were celebrations for four EuroLeague Women clubs over the weekend, as Rivas Ecopolis, Famila Schio, CCC Polkowice and BK Imos Brno all attained domestic Cup success.
RIVAS ROMP TO COPA SUCCESS
Rivas Ecopolis showed why they are riding high at the top of Liga Femenina after coasting to their second Copa De La Reina success in three years, with a convincing 83-62 success against Perfumerias Avenida. Making up in some way for their recent failure to qualify for EuroLeague Women Final Eight, Rivas repaid their fans with a piece of silverware which was all but secured once they fired ten points without reply during the third quarter to break the game open after it had been locked at the interval. Aneika Henry was the MVP with a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds.
THREE OF FOUR FOR SCHIO
Famila Schio eased their way to a third Italian Cup win in four years as Jantel Lavender showed why she will be one of the players to watch at EuroLeague Women Final Eight with yet another sublime showing under the hoop.
The center finished with 26 points on 11-of-15 floor shooting, to power Schio past Gesam Gas Mucca 73-51. Former Italian national team star Laura Macchi produced a nice cameo with 14 points.
POLKOWICE CUP DELIGHT AS WINNICKI RE-SIGNS
There was a double cause for celebration at CCC Polkowice as they continued their amazing 2013, defeating arch rivals Wisla Can-Pack 72-63 in the Polish Cup Final. A fantastic start to the game had them in command at 20-4, and whilst the losing side did launch a comeback to briefly make life a little uncomfortable, Polkowice held on - thanks mainly to Nnemkadi Ogwumike who was crowned MVP after pouring in 24 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
The club will head to Ekaterinburg for the EuroLeague Women Final Eight later this week with great confidence and also some assured continuity for next year, after it was revealed head coach Jacek Winnicki had been handed a new deal for the 2013-14 campaign.
LEGEND FIRES BRNO TO GLORY
Former FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year Hana Horakova turned back the clock with an outstanding 30-point performance to help BK Imos Brno edge out ZVVZ USK Prague 87-83 in the Czech Cup Final, ending the recent Cup winning dominance of their opponents in the competition. The 33-year-old guard was on fire as Brno poured in 29 final quarter points to get the job done - despite 20 points and 15 rebounds from Rebekkah Brunson.
BOURGES MAINTAIN PRESSURE ON BLMA
|Endene Miyem will take some good form to the Final Eight for Bourges Basket, scoring 20 points on the weekend|
Second-placed Bourges Basket are still outsiders to retain their title in the French League from BLMA because of basket difference, but they gave themselves at least a chance by claiming another impressive win. This time they routed Villeneuve 87-48 as Endene Miyem continued her impressive form with 22 points.
BLMA had to grind out another precious win to remain in the box-seat for the regular season title as Geraldine Robert fired 20 points in a hard fought 71-66 win at Basket Landes.
Down at the bottom, the fate of Hainaut Basket looks all but sealed after a 70-65 loss at Aix en Provence who had three players all grab double-doubles, although next from bottom Arras kept their feint hopes alive, courtesy of a 71-55 win against visiting Perpignan. Ukrainian forward Olesia Malashenko was the architect of the win with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Another EuroLeague Women club, USO Mondeville, eased their relegation fears by picking up a priceless 67-57 win at Lyon.
UMMC CLING ON AGAINST KURSK
Runaway leaders UMMC Ekaterinburg almost went into EuroLeague Women Final Eight on the back of a defeat, but managed to hold on for a 73-70 win against a resilient Dynamo Kursk team that came within a whisker of causing an upset. But 22 points and 12 rebounds from Candace Parker helped UMMC to another victory. Epiphanny Prince recorded 22 points in defeat.
EuroCup Women finalists Dynamo Moscow slumped to successive domestic losses as they went down 93-86 in Orenburg against Nadezhda as Dewanna Bonner and Natalia Zhedik combined for 40 points.
Meanwhile Candace Dupree showed why she will be one of the players to watch at the Final Eight next week putting up 19 points alongside 17 rebounds for Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje as they snuck past Chevakata 71-66 in Vologda.
SWEET WEEKEND FOR LEADERS IN TURKEY
The top six clubs all picked up wins to maintain the status quo in the Turkish League. Leaders Fenerbahce were able to give a glimpse of the future by giving extended minutes to Hulya Coklar and Olcay Cakir. Whilst the latter grabbed the plaudits for her role last season and participation in the EuroLeague Women semi-final, Coklar is less well known, but the 18-year-old scored 14 points in a 103-58 blowout of Edremit.
Lindsey Harding and Sylvia Fowles partnered for 37 points as Galatasaray won 60-49 at Antakya; there were home wins for Tarsus and Mersin; a road success for Istanbul Univesity; whilst Kayseri Kaski spor prepared for this weeks' crunch EuroCup Women Final second-leg against Dynamo Moscow by claiming an 82-65 win at TED Ankara. Evanthia Maltsi had 21 points and this was complimented by 18 from Lara Sanders.