The key factors for the Round of 8
MUNICH (Germany) - The EuroCup Women Round of 8 has arrived and it's a critical part of the tournament ahead of four EuroLeague Women sides parachuting into the competition for the Quarter-Finals.
Here's our lowdown on the four crunch ties:
Ogunbowale versus Dumerc
Basket Landes (3) v Orman Genclik (6)
On paper at least, or in terms of rankings, Basket Landes (3) v Orman Genclik (6) should be the closest tie. Although history shows that is not always the case in such situations. Either way, the match-up between Arike Ogunbowale and Celine Dumerc could be an absolute joy. The contrasts between the guards is significant, but their influence for each team is very similar. Ogunbowale is perpetual motion and a has loaded armory always ready to fire. Meanwhile veteran playmaker Dumerc has seen it all before. She will look to dictate the tempo, control the game and slow things down. But as we have seen so many times, she can still hit those clutch shots. This is going to be fascinating as both teams shoot the ball well, but Landes are going to have to keep their opponents off the glass as Orman gorge themselves on second chance points.
Valencia and Bizkaia with points to prove?
Valencia Basket Club SAD (2) v Lointek Gernika Bizkaia (10)
Even if they will be fierce rivals in this tie, you could argue that both Valencia Basket Club SAD (2) and Lointek Gernika Bizkaia (10) have common goals. Both are in the top four in Spain and looking to end the recent dominance of Perfumerias Avenida and Spar Citylift Girona. They are also both running very ambitious projects that could one day see a leap towards EuroLeague Women participation. The winner of this match-up could well get the opportunity to take the scalp of a EuroLeague Women club when four drop into the Quarter-Finals. This tie is a big step for both of these teams. When they recently met each other in the Spanish League, it was an absolute classic, with Gernika winning a dramatic contest 91-89!
Will CCC Polkowice changes disrupt the momentum?
Carolo Basket (4) v CCC Polkowice (12)
Polish side CCC Polkowice (12) have been impressive in the competition this season, but now enter this phase of the tournament having made a couple of major changes. Veteran playmaker Miljana Bojovic has moved on, and with Ana Maria Filip switching to Bourges Basket in EuroLeague Women and they will both be missed. Trying to fill the gap are Opals' player Lauren Mansfield and Polish star Klaudia Niedzwiedzka who have been signed up. There will be an even bigger onus on the in-form Maria Conde to carry CCC forward in their tie with Carolo Basket (4). One of the key things will be whether Carolo can look after the ball, since Polkowice punish teams who turn it over better than most, with Carolo's strength often being weapons coming off the bench. Meanwhile rather interestingly, both clubs have used success in EuroCup Women as a welcome distraction from domestic mediocrity with reigning Polish League champions Polkowice unable to break into the top three and Carolo languishing 8th in the LFB.
Can Avenida live up to their top-billing?
Perfumerias Avenida (1) v Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje (9)
As the top seeds in the competition right now, Perfumerias Avenida (1) are under pressure to not slip up against Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje (9) and must maintain their surge towards a potential Final. But with that major expectation, comes pressure. So it's probably important that they are stacked with national team experience because they also come into this tie having lost against arch Spanish title rivals Girona and need to pick themselves up mentally. They have many weapons, but will have to be switched on for this phase, since Sparta&K will rely on one of their biggest strengths and that is their three-point shooting which is the best in EuroCup Women this season at a spectacular 47 percent! This feels like one of those ties when even more than usual, the strategy of the respective coaches could be the determining factor.