It has taken a month but after four weeks and with the EuroLeague going on its first (three week) break there are no more unbeaten teams!
Seven sides now sit 3-1 between Group A and Group B thanks to an exceptional performance by Polish club BC Polkowice in an 83-80 win over USK Praha.
Polkowice’s defense was fantastic, limiting Praha to 21% of 3-point shots and blocking seven shots. Both teams recorded 10-0 runs, although Praha only served to close a 14-point gap in the third quarter.
Things got tight at the end of the game when Sasa Cadjo hit the game-winning 3-pointer at 2:12 on the clock. Stephanie Mavunga Polkowice increased a few points a minute later to 83-80, and Praha missed their last six field goal attempts.
The game lived up to the high expectations with three players earning the highest efficiency scores of the week. Mavunga was the MVP thanks to a ridiculous outing with 25 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks (36 efficiency) in just 30 minutes. Two players from Prague were close to these heights: Alisa Thomas put up a double-double (21 points, 12 rebounds, six steals, four assists) and Valeriane Vukosavljevic finished the tournament with 28 points, six boards, four dimes and four steals.
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The trio of Spanish teams continue their winning streak
What a Tuesday for all three Spanish teams in the EuroLeague! Valencia, Avenida and especially Girona have won their matchups for the second week in a row. All three are now at the top of their groups with 3-1 records in the first third of the season.
Girona faced the ultimate test and welcomed reigning champions Sopron at home. Girona fended off Sopron 63-60 in a goalless affair in which the teams collectively managed just five 3-pointers. Girona started the game 3-0 but only regained the lead early in the fourth period. Sopron had a (literal) chance to level the game with seven seconds left, but a 3-point try was blocked by Irati Etxarri.
It wasn’t a game of individual excellence, but three players on each side reached double figures, with Jelena Brooks leading Sopron by 15 points. Rebekah Gardner (15 points, five rebounds) was the top scorer for Girona, while Maria Araujo struggled, shooting 37.5% from field with 16 tries and finishing with 13 points and seven boards. for Sopron, Good Magbegor and Brittney Syke failed to score 10 points but contributed overall with a total of 10 rebounds, five dimes, five steals and three blocks.
It wasn’t nearly as close, as the final score showed for Avenida in Tuesday’s 79-72 win over Belgian club Kangoeroes. The Spaniards were just three points up in the third period with seven minutes remaining, but things went wrong for Mechelen from then on. Avenida started a scoring binge and increased the lead to 16 points with just five minutes left.
Kangoeroes were demolished on the glass, getting passed 39 to 21 and grabbing just five offensive boards to Avenida’s 13. Those offensive boards translated into 18 second-chance points for the Spanish team. The only stat the Belgian team led in was in personal fouls, which tells you everything you need to know about this affair. Even then, four players from Mechelen lost more than 12 points, with Lisa Berkani and Morgan Bertsch both scored 19 points. However, turnovers killed Kangoeroes, with Bertsch losing five possessions and Laure Resimont four.
Avenida enjoyed a brilliant day from Mariella Fasoula (19 points). Erica McCall (15 points, five boards), Dear Cazorla (16 points, six assists) and Aleksandra Crvendakic (six points, 11 rebounds, seven dimes) also each reached double digits in a statistical category.
Finally, it’s fair to call it Valencia’s setback and change in the last three weeks. Valencia beat EuroLeague newcomers Virtus Bologna in their first game of the season, only to lose to Praha a week later. But the Spanish won victories against KSC a week ago and Tango Bourges on Tuesday, scoring 76-68.
With a rare 12-player rotation, Valencia surpassed a French side led by Yvonne Anderson and their 35 minutes playing time. No other Bourges player recorded more than 27, while none from Valencia surpassed 31st. Anderson was exceptional, scoring 20 points from the end with five assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block. Her teammate Laetitia Guapo contributed 10 points, six boards, five steals and four assists while Elodie Godin had 12 rebounds.
Valencias Lauren Cox (13), Alba Torrens (14), Raquel Carrera (12) and Marie Gulich (10) scored in double figures while also catching at least four rebounds and dishing out an assist each. Valencia left late and only parted ways with Bourges in the fourth period.
KSC and Fenerbahçe continue to improve their records
How strange is it to find KSC and Fenerbahçe together in a sentence like this? Last season, KSC finished 0-14, while Fenerbahçe made it to the EuroLeague final after finishing the regular season with a 13-1 record. This year, both teams have the same record of 2-2 after a month of playing and are fighting for fourth place in Group A.
Of course, one of those two teams will find plenty of reasons to celebrate that early run, while the other won’t be so happy about it.
After beating Olympiacos 78-69 on Tuesday, KSC celebrates its second win of the season. While it has been a bumpy road for KSC so far, victories and defeats alternated, the Hungarian side had already beaten Fenerbahçe and have now defeated the best team of qualification.
Like all season, Olympiacos opted for a top-heavy rotation, with Megan Gustafson (37th minute), Angeliki Nikolopoulou (37th), Kylee shook (36) and Aina Ayuso (33) all play more than 30 minutes. Three of them reached double digits, with Gustafson hitting a game-high 23 with nine rebounds, but none of them finished on a positive plus-minus.
None of the KSC starters surpassed 33 minutes of play, but Cyesha Goree and Victoria Vivians scored 19 points each Ruthy Hebard added 15. Goree’s efficiency of 29 came from pairing that scoring with 13 boards (along with four dimes and two steals), while Agnes Studer contributed 11 dimes and four steals.
Emma Meessemann returned to the domestic league for Fenerbahçe for the first time last weekend after suffering an injury with Belgium national team in September. Then, on Tuesday, she made her EuroLeague debut of the season with an exceptional performance that seemed like she hadn’t missed a shot: 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block.
Currently minus 4 points difference (287 points for, 291 against 4 games), Bologna has had a tough debut season in the EuroLeague. Iliana Rupert‘s 17-point, 10-rebound double-double didn’t help, and didn’t Cecilia Zandalasiniare 18 points. Cheyenne Parker played 27 minutes but had a game to forget. She contributed just four points, two rebounds and a steal while turning the ball twice and hitting just two of her seven field goal attempts.
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Landes without a win in Group B; Jonquel Jones lifts Cukurova up
Landes have lost their fourth game of the season, are yet to win a game and could be in for a very long year if things don’t turn 180 degrees after the break. The French side were crushed 58-78 by Famila Schio on Tuesday and although they were just two points down in the second quarter, things got ugly from there.
Schio scored in bunches and led by up to 21 points. Marina Mabrey scored 23 points with four boards, five dimes, and a few steals. Jasmine Keys had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds; Astou Ndour had 15 points; and Martina Bestagno and Rhine Howard added seven each.
country at least had Regan Magarity, who had 15 points and six rebounds but finished up minus 17 plus-minus. However, Lidija Turcinovic was the worst player on that front at minus 28 in 24 minutes, the third-lowest mark by a player this season.
Jonquel Jones made her presence felt in her third game with Cukurova this season and registered her third double-double. She finished Wednesday’s only game with 15 points and 15 rebounds, as well as a cent, a steal and a block. She now averages 19.7 points, 14.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 blocks and one steal per game, making her the only player to average a double-double and 1-1-1 in the other three main statistical categories.
No wonder Cukurova easily defeated Hungarian club DVTK in a 77-58 win that marked the week’s biggest points difference. Not even an otherworldly performance by Arella Guirantes, which was close to a triple-double, was enough to keep DVTK close. Guirantes’ 24-point, eight-rebound, eight-assist, and four-steal performance is his first 20-8-8-4 game this season and one of just three 15-8-8-4s to date -Rows.
Cukurova started the season slowly (albeit against two Final Four contenders from last season) but now has two straight wins. All four of his WNBA imports are already on the list (Brian Jan, DeWanna Bonner, Tiffany Hayes and Jones) and met expectations.