20 September, 2017
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4 Mirna Mazic | Photo: Stavros Zazanis
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What will be the deciding factors in the Round of 16?

MUNICH (EuroCup Women) – While some EuroCup Women Round of 16 ties look done and dusted heading into the second leg games, others are finely balanced.

But, what will be the deciding factors?

Can Olympiacos tread a fine line with their defensive aggression?
Oympiacos know they will have to use their vast experience as a team of veterans to play the hard defense that could upset Spar Citylift Girona. Their Spanish opponents are trailing by five in the tie and will be ready to come out with all guns blazing. That is why this tie could be decided on whether the likes of Evanthia Maltsi, Styliani Kaltsidou, Olga Chatzinikolaou and Co. can play that trademark hard-nosed defense right at the limits for Olympiacos – but without attracting the attention of the referees and getting into too much foul trouble.

Can Enisey put some chains on Paris?
Last week we highlighted how Courtney Paris of Hatay was locked into a battle with Enisey Krasnoyarsk star Jacinta Monroe to top the double-doubles chart. Well, Paris pulled level with Monroe with five double-doubles after the first leg on Russian soil when she corralled 20 points and 17 rebounds. A difference-maker, it looks like Enisey have no chance if they don't find a way to keep her away from the glass. They did a great job cutting the gap to just five points after Hatay looked like they would sail through, but all that good work will go to waste without throwing some chains on Paris.

Can KSC Szekszard continue the momentum?
It is a delicately balanced tie, even if KSC Szekszard have to hit the road and find themselves trailing by five points. That is because they have some serious momentum behind them after they rallied to launch a late rescue mission on their home court when down by as many as 15 points in the last quarter. Of course, it could both sharpen the focus of Sleza Wroclaw, or it might have struck an important psychological blow ahead of this second leg for Szekszard. The Hungarian champions might just touch down in Poland thinking the force is with them and for sure, they have the quality to finish the job and take a win – if they can control the tempo a little better.

Can Gdynia put some scoring support around Copper?
Basket 90 Gdynia were in real trouble at home to Virtus Eirene Ragusa, but dug themselves out of a major double-digit deficit with a late comeback to reduce the Italian's lead to four points ahead of the second meeting. They were led as usual by the leading scorer in the tournament, Kahleah Copper, with 24 points. The worry for Gdynia head coach Gundars Vetra is that even with Copper scoring, they struggled. So, if she dries up, it is game over. The ideal scenario and potential necessity is that someone else and preferably two players lend some offensive support. It was good most players contributed, but those single digit returns need to be upped. Without a major second and third contributor, it will probably be an uphill battle and especially if Virtus Eirene star Astou Ndour lights it up again. Gdynia also lost in the Polish League last weekend so confidence is not exactly sky-high.

In the other four ties, it looks like a long way back for the teams who crashed [and quite possibly burned] during the first leg last week. Saint-Amand and Artego Bydgoszcz look like they have the biggest mountains to climb after big double-digit losses at home to Reyer Venezia and Flammes Carolo Basket respectively.

There is a feint hope for Good Angels Kosice, who must use their homecourt advantage to overturn a 14-point deficit against Basket Landes, while the same goes for TTT Riga who went down by 18 at Mersin but had not lost prior to that.

You can follow Thursday’s games via Live Updates.