BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
There have been starkly contrasting emotions across Europe during recent days, as Championship titles continued to be contested and in some cases decided, whilst clubs such as Arras must now deal with the painful reality of relegation.
|Jantel Lavender and Famila Schio can be considered as the favourites for the Italian league title |
SEASON ENDS FOR TARANTO
Reigning Italian champions Goldbet Taranto won't be defending their Championship crown after being dumped out of the play-offs at the quarter-final stage by Umbertide. They went down 2-0 after failing to tie the series in a gut-wrenching 64-62 defeat as D'Andra Moss poured in 26 points.
Famila Schio had 18 points from veteran Laura Macchi and a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds by Jantel Lavender to safely negotiate Orvieto, although they had to do so without Danielle Mc Cray, who suffered a suspected torn Achilles last week.
Gesam Gas Lucca and Lavezzini Parma also made it into the semi-finals after sweeping their respective series against CUS Chieti and Trogylos Priolo.
ARRAS RELEGATED, FINAL FRENCH FOUR DECIDED
Whilst it barely came as a surprise after a horrific domestic season, Arras Pays D'Artois have finally lost their LFB status and will play in the second tier of French basketball next season.
Coming just two years after reaching the EuroCup Women Final it's a real hammer blow for the EuroLeague Women competitors, with their fate sealed after losing their last two games of the regular campaign.
Meanwhile at the top of the classification, a thrilling three-way fight for the last two remaining spots in the top four came to a conclusion. With league winners Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration and runners-up Bourges Basket assured of their semi-final places, Lyon, Perpignan and Tarbes GB all had an opportunity to punch their ticket.
And, it could barely have been more dramatic for Perpignan, who claimed a nail-biting 64-63 road win at USO Mondeville. Elodie Bertal led the way with 13 points to secure her team fourth place and a meeting with BLMA.
The other spot was a straight fight between the other two contenders with Lyon taking a 65-60 home success to inflict disappointment on Tarbes. Mistie Mims was the hero with 21 points for the hosts who will match-up with Bourges.
ANOTHER PARTY FOR PERFECT PARTIZAN
|Marina Maljkovic will try to take the confidence of Partizan Galenika to the Serbian national team ahead of EuroBasket Women|
Hot on the heels of their Adriatic League success, Serbian Cup victory and securing the regular season title in the Serbian League, Partizan Galenika were crowned play-off champions over the weekend, ensuring they delivered a perfect domestic season.
The Belgrade club went unbeaten after taking down Radivoj Korac 78-72, to sweep their closest rivals 3-0 in a one-sided series.
It means the only defeated tasted by the Partizan Galenika players this year, came in the EuroCup Women, where they just failed to make it to the knockout phase of the competition.
The performance is a great boost for Serbia ahead of EuroBasket Women, with many of the Partizan Galenika players in contention for a roster place and especially with head coach Marina Maljkovic holding the reins of both teams.
UNB OBENASA TAKE IT TO THE WIRE IN SPAIN
With regular season title winners Rivas Ecopolis and second place Perfumerias Avenida assured of their place in the Liga Femenina play-off semi-finals, there were two more places to fill.
Despite not having leading scorer and Latvian national team forward Aija Putnina to call upon, sixth placed UNB Obenasa set up a nervy third deciding game and a potential shock for their third place opponent, Spar UniGirona after a thrilling 78-73 overtime success. Spanish duo Patricia Arguello and Maria Revuelto combined for 33 points for the winning team.
Cadi ICG Software joined Rivas and Avenida in the last four after completing a 2-0 series win against Burgos.
SUCCESS FOR SK CESIS
Defending Latvian Champions, SK Cesis scooped silverware over the weekend after taking the first ever co Latvian and Estonian League title. They had to overcome arch rivals TTT Riga 67-61 in an intense Final after seeing off RTU/Merks in the semi-finals.
It was Latvian national team playmaker Anda Eibele who took the MVP award after dishing up nine assists. Sharp shooter Ieva Krastina had 22 points for the losing team.