Five key factors for the second leg of the Semi-Finals
MUNICH (Germany) - The second leg of the EuroCup Women Semi-Finals will soon be underway and here are five factors that could influence who makes it to the 2019 title showdown.
Has the momentum shifted?
Having been behind by as many as 18 points at home to BLMA in the first leg, it had looked like the dreams of Spar Citylift Girona winning EuroCup Women next month on their own floor had been shattered prematurely. But, that simply amazing last-quarter comeback to cut the gap and make it a one-shot game at 69-66 heading into the second leg in Montpellier has breathed unexpected life into their prospects. Back from the dead and with a second chance, the question is whether the momentum has truly shifted in the tie, or it will be BLMA who will be heading into this one feeling stung and a bit sore - meaning they will be out to assert control.
Will BLMA get the right inside-outside balance?
It’s hard to criticize BLMA for last week’s showing, since they did win in Girona. They are also a great three-point shooting team, but did they get too trigger-happy from long range in the first meeting? They jacked up an eye-bulging 30 triple attempts in the first meeting, when they actually shot a sweet 50 percent on those occasions when they looked inside the paint to the likes of Helena Ciak. It might just be how they get the balance right in this second game that determines whether they get that historic first Final spot.
Jones to be a tower of strength yet again?
We have been running out of plaudits for Brionna Jones this season, who was sensational in the EuroLeague Women Regular Season and has continued that fine form into this competition. She was head and shoulders above everyone else last week in the first leg as she accumulated her latest double-double to inspire the 67-61 win for Nadezhda on Italian soil. Her 25 points and 13 rebounds were terrific, plus she had an overlooked 4 steals too. If she has her usual big game and stands tall, it is going to make life tough for Schio. She has been an absolute rock for the Russian side and it is tough to envisage her not coming up with the goods.
It’s got to be go-time for Gruda
Taking into account how effective Jones was for Nadezhda, there was a lot to be curious about when it came to the world class talent of Sandrine Gruda in that first-leg contest. During her first 16 minutes on the floor, she only shot the ball twice and had one paltry rebound. Then, she threatened to move up a gear in the last part of the game, but time expired. Assuming Schio have put a lot of their resources into the French national team ace, her quality and experience simply must rise to the fore in the second leg. Yes, it’s go-time for Gruda
Magical memories from Mersin
For anybody thinking that this tie is done already - forget that notion. Famila Schio will be able to draw considerable strength from the fact that after trailing from their first leg home tie in the Quarter-Finals, they went to tournament favorites Cukurova Basketbol and claimed a memorable victory. It was perhaps their best of the season and this result alone shows that Schio can strike for a road win in a tough environment (like Orenburg will be) and get it done. We wait with baited breath for the game ball to be thrown up!