A former EuroLeague Women champion, Janel McCarville is no stranger to success in the competition and knows CCC Polkowice must hit top gear to beat Galatasaray odeabank.
The reigning Polish champions head into their final game of the regular season in the knowledge a win against the Turkish giants would seal them a play-off place.
"We will have to work hard to earn victory," stressed McCarville.
"Galatasaray have a great squad and are trying to secure a better play-off position themselves.
"We will need to have really focused practices in these days leading up to the game.
"Our coach puts together great game plans and when we follow them, good things happen for our team.
"Some of the keys for us will be the usual - limit the offensive rebounds, stop them in transition and force them to take tough contested shots."
The last time the teams met, CCC Polkowice were still firmly in the game at the end of the third quarter, but hit the wall offensively by scoring just four points in the last period - a not uncommon issue this season.
"Unfortunately sometimes our offence can stall and that is obviously a problem," concurred the 31-year-old.
"When and if that happens, we need to rely on our defence to get stops and pick our offence back up.
"Defensively we disrupt our opponents' flow which keeps us in games, but we get stagnant on offence and if we are not hitting our shots, it can be a long night.
"Galatasaray are strong and as you can see by the first meeting, it was a game of runs.
"They were able to make the last run of the game and get the win - despite us playing 30 strong minutes of basketball."
Ask McCarville about the season generally and you are guaranteed her usual and refreshingly candid assessment.
She confessed, "We are upset and disappointed in our performances.
"We have had a few games that have shown how good we can play, but we have also had a few games that have been down right ugly losses for us.
"One good thing about this game is that it is at home and for the most part, we play a lot better in front of our own fans.
"This will be the last regular game of the season for us, so I expect the team will leave it all on the court.
"We need to in order to improve our seed in hopes of making it back to the Final Eight."
|"I expect the team will leave it all on the court," says Janel Mc Carville ahead of CCC Polkowice's final regular season game |
Form Guide: CCC Polkowice are fifth in Group C with a 4-7 record, but have however won their last two home games. Domestically, they are in second place at 18-4 in the BLK and chasing down Wisla Can-Pack. Galatasaray odeabank are 6-4 in EuroLeague Women and have hit a rough patch recently, losing three of their last four outings. They are however riding high at the top of the TKBL with 19 wins from 20 games and the Turkish Cup already safely tucked away in the trophy cabinet. They won the first meeting between the clubs 62-49.
The Hot Hands: Nobody has really set the season alight for CCC Pokowice, although McCarville has arguably been the most consistent performer with 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Shavonte Zellous leads Galatasaray with 17.1 points per game and was in sensational form, but that has tailed off along with results recently - proof of the correlation between her personal successes and those of the team.
‘X Factors' & Match Ups: This is probably going to be for the defensively-minded, since both sides give up nothing easily and aren't exactly in great form or packed with offensive firepower. Galatasaray have more potential to get out and run with the likes of Alba Torrens on board, but this could be a big half-court game with every shot and possession hugely precious. Low scoring is almost inevitable and as McCarville alluded to, rebounding could potentially be the difference. It would also help the home side if they can finally buy themselves a few outside shots. McCarville and Agnieszka Majewska against Kelsey Bone and Nevriye Yilmaz should be a bruising, but fascinating match-up.
Did you know? Majewska is the leading shot-blocker in the competition with an average of 2.6 swats per game. However, Polkowice duo Belinda Snell and Valeriya Musina are both struggling from downtown this season. The former has missed her previous eight triple attempts and Musina is 4 of 39 for the season.