Epic in Prague, the Connecticut connection and dream debuts headline talking points
MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) – The first week of 2019 action was compelling and included an array of entertaining games and fine individual performances.
Here are the main talking points from Week 8 – according to our women's specialist Paul Nilsen, aka @Basketmedia365
Game of the season so far?
I could not take my eyes off it. The stages of this epic in the Czech capital were so absorbing and all born out of the 99% certainty it was just going to be your average blowout when ZVVZ USK Praha stormed into a 17-point lead. But, Nadezhda launched one of the truly great escapes to recover and the last 5 minutes of regulation, plus the double overtime was sensational. It was a brilliant advert for women's ball and I want to thank both teams for their efforts and for entertaining us so royally.
The Connecticut Sun connection
There could be only one winner in that amazing game, but it was fascinating to see Connecticut Sun duo Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones going up against each other and enjoying the battle. Both players came away with their usual tremendous numbers. Thomas had 20 points, 17 boards and 4 assists in defeat, while Jones (a player I have referenced so much of late) kept her staggering run going. She amassed yet another double-double (her 10th of the season) with 29 points and 11 rebounds - shooting the ball brilliantly as always. Sun fans should be proud of them both in the way they are representing the club and WNBA overseas.
Wow, we had asked in our first Power Rankings of 2019 whether the incoming players and signings of the winter break would make an impact with their new teams. And, they certainly did, with Riquna Williams, Quanitra Hollingsworth and Laura Nicholls (pictured) in particular, all enjoying dream debuts with their respective clubs. Williams dropped 25 points for Hatay in their fabulous road win at Avenida, while Hollingsworth was her usual tower of strength as she posted a smart 16 points and 10 rebounds for Dynamo Kursk as they edged out TTT Riga. Meanwhile Nicholls was super for Nadezhda in that amazing win at Praha. Not only adding 12 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists, but also showing her experience defensively in a big way.
Eighth time lucky for Famila Schio
Quite rightly, Pierre Vincent and his team have received criticism for their shocking and so often painful 0-7 start to the season. So, it is only right and proper that they now get credit for belatedly getting off the mark with a first victory - albeit against a desperately poor Castors Braine. Still, that should not detract from Schio getting a something in the W column. The question now for the Italian side is whether this is the start of a bright 2019 and whether they can get some momentum to sneak into the EuroCup Women spots. Because, if they did, then perhaps they could yet end up with some silverware - as crazy as that might have seemed at the end of a miserable 2018.
Written in the stars for Casas
If there was one guarantee this season, it was that Queralt Casas was going to come back to haunt Carolo Basket. The Spanish ace started the season with the French club and after what appeared to be a somewhat acrimonious separation that resulted in her signing for Sopron Basket, the two clubs came together this week. Yes, in probably the most predictable thing to happen all season, Casas starred with a special 7-of-11 shooting performance and 7 assists in a crushing triumph at the Novomatic Arena.
Under the radar
- Alyssa Thomas equaled the highest number of rebounds in a single game this season with those 17 boards against Nadezhda.
- UMMC became the first team to score 100 points or more in a game this season for a second time.
- Both Nadezhda and Dynamo Kursk came up with the joint second best number of blocks by a team in a game this season after swatting seven shots each in their respective clashes with ZVVZ USK Praha and TTT Riga.