Preview: Polkowice vs. Avenida

13.10.2011

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

WATCH IT LIVE AND FOR FREE ON FIBA EUROPE TV - THURSDAY AT 17.45 CET

By Paul Nilsen

12. Iva Perovanovic (Montenegro)
Polkowice new signing Iva Perovanovic will most likely feature in the opening game, after recovering from the injury she sustained at the EuroBasket Women

CCC Polkowice will write a brand new chapter in their history this week when they step out in EuroLeague Women for the very first time.

As if this landmark occasion wasn't exciting enough, they will debut against defending champions Perfumerias Avenida and will do so in front of their own fans who are no doubt hugely excited by the arrival of some big names during the summer.

Thankfully for them, the Polkowice team are unlikely to suffer from stage fright when the curtain is raised, since they have had a healthy injection of experience.

Not least with the arrival of EuroBasket Women 2009 MVP Evina Maltsi who is likely to be the clutch player for them this season.

Also leading the way will be Montenegro star Iva Perovanovic who is recovering from the injury she sustained during her excellent campaign with the National Team and she will be hoping she can recapture the form which lit up EuroBasket Women and also helped Montpellier secure the French Cup last season.

As for Perfumerias Avenida, you have to say that 2011 is a year that most definitely belongs to them. Even after losing a considerable chunk of the team which was victorious at the Final Four in Ekaterinburg, their new look side has already delivered having secured not one, but two SuperCup titles.

After defeating EuroCup Women champions Elitzur Ramla, they went on to win the Spanish SuperCup last weekend against Rivas Ecopolis.

However it's now very much back down to earth as Lucas Mondelo and his players roll up their sleeves in their bid to retain their most prized possession - namely, their EuroLeague Women crown.

It's a testament to the quality they have on their roster that they were able to scoop two more pieces of silverware without the services of the influential Erika De Souza, who has been winning gold with Brazil and contesting the WNBA Finals.

With CCC Polkowice flying in the Polish League too, both teams certainly have reasons to be very confident ahead of the showdown.

Season So Far: Something will have to give since both are undefeated so far this season. CCC Polkowice has won all three games domestically to grab a share of the lead at the top of the PLKK table while Perfumerias Avenida came out on top in both SuperCup finals.

The Hot Hands: Since making the summer switch from Galatasaray, former FIBA Europe Young Player of The Year Ginatre Petronyte has enjoyed a strong start to the season with a couple of big performances while influential guard Sharnee Zoll looks like coming alive early.

For the visitors, Dewanna Bonner was sensational last Sunday with an MVP debut performance against Rivas Ecopolis in the Liga Femenina SuperCup while young Marta Xargay has showed she may well be able to step things up this year.

The ‘X Factors': Perfumerias Avenida hit the road for the first time this season and without the backing of their noisy home fans and this could be a factor.

Meanwhile CCC Polkowice and Sharnee Zoll in particular have to be confident they are capable of dictating the tempo of the game. That will be helped enormously if they look after the ball and don't give up too many points off turnovers.

Key Match Up: Both teams have real gems in the small forward spots and while dependent on their roles, it will be intriguing to see if Dewanna Bonner and Evina Maltsi end up going head to head on the floor.

Perhaps more likely, they will be assigned different defensive minders who will be tasked with trying to nullify their offensive capabilities. Nevertheless, watching these two potential game winners go to work should be a real delight for us all.


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