Five things you need to know about the first leg of the Semi-Finals
MUNICH (Germany) - The Semi-Finals of EuroCup Women are shaping up to be a mouth-watering prospect and ahead of the first-leg matchups, we have picked up five things you need to know before the game balls are thrown up.
EuroLeague Women v EuroCup Women Final guaranteed
The Semi-Finals will see two EuroLeague Women Regular Season competitors go up against each other in the shape of Famila Schio and Nadezhda, while Spar Citylift Girona and BLMA both came from the EuroCup Women Regular Season. That means we are now going to get a Final with a club from each of the respective Regular Seasons.
Deja-vu for Famila Schio and Nadezhda
These two didn't only compete during the EuroLeague Women Regular Season, they were in the same group and so know all about playing against each other. Perhaps a little bizarrely, both games were absolute blowouts, with Nadezhda winning 67-51 in Orenburg, while this same fixture saw Schio inflict an 82-50 hammering on their opponents only a month ago. Perhaps it will be third time lucky for fans hoping for a tight and exciting game?
Is it going to be all about Allie Quigley - again?
Well, quite probably. You just can't keep Quigley down and out of the headlines. She arrived mid-season at Schio who were winless and has since helped initiate a turnaround, made some killer shots in the decisive Quarter-Final meeting at Cukurova Basketbol last week and is of course, a reigning EuroCup Women winner. But if you put all that aside, the crunch is whether she will be the difference-maker again and what plans Nadezhda playcaller Victor Lapena can come up with to slow her down. Many teams have tried and failed in this respect, but if Schio are going to make it to the title game, it seems wholly unlikely it will be without a big contribution from the WNBA favorite. Then again, they do have other class acts in the likes of Sandrine Gruda and Jantel Lavender.
Stats don't matter for Girona - only crunch-time and the crowd
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L'Spar CityLift Girona a les semifinals de l'#EuroCupWomen en derrotar al Lyon, enhorabona! Amb aquesta victòria @unigirona segueix fent història i ja és el primer equip femení català en superar els 1/4 de final d'una competició europea. - 📷 Aniol Resclosa / @diaridegirona.cat - #basquetcatala #basquet #fcbq #basquetbol #🏀 #unigirona #basquetfemeni @helena_oma @beasanchezm89 @rosobuch @suriseric @esportcat @ufeccat
If you glance at the season stats, you won't find Spar Citylift Girona riding high in too many categories. They are not even in the top 10 for points, assists or steals. They are the exception - not the rule. Sometimes stats do hide the truth. Girona are a team who fight and get it done ugly sometimes. They are especially adept at harnessing their vast experience to get it done during the clutch. They have won several close games and dug themselves out of a few holes this season to make it to the Semi-Finals for the first time. They have also turned their home court into a fortress and the energy from the locals has given them an edge more than most teams enjoy at home. So, getting onto the front foot in this tie and harnessing those positives will be vital.
The Whitcomb factor
One of the leading players from the EuroCup Women Regular Season, if not the MVP in the minds of many observers, there is no slowing down Aussie ace, Samantha Whitcomb. She has been the driving force behind the strong challenge of BLMA and she will surely be occupying the mind of Girona head coach, Eric Suris. Th guard heads into this game having dropped a mind-blowing 50 triples, which is almost twice as many as anyone else in the competition. She has also done it by shooting almost 48 percent. So, locking her down will surely be the priority for Girona - although interestingly, could it be recent signing Ana Dabovic who steps up if Whitcomb is tamed? The former FIBA Women's Eurobasket MVP is certainly capable.