Everything you need to know about the EuroCup Women Final Four
SZEKSZARD (Hungary) - The EuroCup Women Final Four in Szekszard is set to provide an absorbing climax to this season's competition as a quartet of clubs fight it out for the precious silverware.
Here is everything you need to know about Friday's eagerly anticipated Semi-Finals, while you can also check out the thoughts of our Expert Panel, who have predicted who they think will win it all.
Reyer Venezia v KSC Szekszard
Host club KSC Szekszard have already gone further than ever before and they will go up against the ambitious Italians Reyer Venezia in what is being touted as a potential classic.
Seasons So Far: One of the teams will pick up their first EuroCup Women loss of the campaign as both arrive at the Final Four unbeaten in the competition so far. Reyer Venezia are top of the Italian League with a 24-1 record, while KSC Szekszard are also looking forward to the Hungarian Finals against Sopron Basket.
Key Matchups: The tempo of the game could be vital and there is a fascinating backcourt battle brewing between playmakers Yvonne Anderson of Reyer Venezia and Agnes Studer of KSC Szekszard. While Anderson has vast experience as an advantage, her Hungarian rival has had a strong season and will relish the test. Meanwhile, the big match-up question is who Reyer Venezia will task with guarding KSC Szekszard centerpiece DeWanna Bonner who looks to be their potential game-winner in waiting. There are a few options for Venezia such as Temi Fagbenle or Elisa Penna for example and it will be interesting to see how they proceed and who can handle Bonner's inside-outside scoring and athletic capabilities.
Key Questions: Can KSC Szekszard capitalize on home advantage or will it only add to the pressure? Do they have enough overall experience within their roster to get the job done and advance ot the Final?
For Reyer Venezia, can they impose themselves physically and dominate the frontcourt with their impressive rotation in the paint, as well as continuing to impressively share the ball as they have done all season long?
What They Say: "It is absolutely a source of pride to participate in the EuroCup Women Final Four. We are coming from a good moment as demonstrated by the three consecutive [Italian League] away victories - in particular the last one in Ragusa. We play against the host club KSC Szekszard, a really tough opponent who has a very formidable champion in DeWanna Bonner. For them, it can be a small advantage to play on their court, but without spectators, this is not a determining factor." - Reyer Venezia captain, Martina Bestagno.
Did you Know?
- KSC Szekszard have won their last 13 home games in the EuroCup Women, by an average
margin of 16 points; their last defeat on their home court was in January 2018.
- Reyer Venezia have scored 94 points per game, the most of any team this season.
- KSC Szekszard have won just one of the seven EuroCup Women games in which they have
conceded more than 75 points.
- Reyer Venezia and KSC Szekszard are two of the three teams to have harvested most rebounds per game in the EuroCup Women this season, with the Italians averaging 44.6 per game and the Hungarians 45.2 per outing.
- KSC Szekszard have made 102 fouls, the most of any team this season.
Carolo Basket v Valencia Basket
History is assured when Valencia Basket clash with Carolo Basket, since neither have made a Final previously and indeed are playing in the last four of the competition for the first time. The unbeaten Spanish side are being considered as strong favorites to progress because of the vibrant way they have played all season. However, Carolo Basket have a string of top international players and will be out to cause a surprise.
Seasons So Far: Carolo Basket have only lost once in EuroCup Women this season, but are languishing in 7th place in their domestic league with a 7-7 record, although they have made the French Cup Final. Valencia Basket are unbeaten in EuroCup Women were 29-1 in the Spanish League, only just losing out on top spot to Perfumerias Avenida.
Key Matchups: Endy Miyem and Evelyn Akhator have a big job to do in the paint for Carolo Basket as their offensive rebounding could be key. They must also shut down Australian ace Bec Allen who has been outstanding for Valencia all season long, while Spanish national team forward Laura Gil has been playing some of the best basketball of her career.
Key Questions: Can Carolo Basket crash the offensive boards and get the precious second chance points that could keep them in contention and even deliver a victory. Can they defend the perimeter and shut down a Valencia side that are the best three-point shooting team in the tournament?
Will Valencia be able to utilize their impressive offensive sets to cause all manner of headaches for the Carolo defense and help deliver the win that so many observers are predicting?
What They Say: "We know that any rival who is in the French league is very physical. If you compare it to us, I would say they are more physical, but I think we can hurt them. If we play smart, we can be better than them. In the end, it’s 40 minutes and both teams will give it their all. I think that if we want to beat them, it's more about playing to our own strengths, more than playing against them physically." - Valencia Basket guard, Queralt Casas.
Did you Know?
- Six of the last seven EuroCup Women games between Spanish and French teams have been won by teams from Spain: only Carolo Basket have won a game against a Spanish opponent in 2021 (v Tenerife) among all French teams in the competition.
- Valencia Basket Club have scored 46.5% of their attempted 3-pointers (40-of-86), the highest scoring ratio from behind the arc for any team in the EuroCup Women 2020/21; Valencia are one of four teams to have scored 40+ shots from 3P in the league this season.
- Valencia Basket Club have made 5.6 blocks per game, the most of any team in the EuroCup Women this season – the Spanish side are the only one making an average of 5+ blocks per game in the league.
- Valencia Basket Club and Carolo Basket have conceded the fewest points per game among all teams in the EuroCup Women this season, with the Spanish side conceding an average of 52.6 and the French team conceding an average of 56.8 per game.
- Carolo Basket have made 11.4 steals per game, the most for any team with more than three games played in the EuroCup Women this season; they have made 10+ steals in four of their five games this season – losing the only game in which they have tallied fewer than 10 steals.