26 September, 2017
22 April, 2018
46 Tamara Radocaj (POL)
to read

EuroLeague Women Week 6 reflections

MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) – It was another eventful week in EuroLeague Women and our women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen has been looking over the main themes.

Bitter sweet for French clubs

I thought this week was something of a watershed for the French clubs in the competition – even if we are only 6 weeks into the season.

ESBVA-LM achieved not only one of the performances of the week, but a win against Bourges that could define a [perhaps unexpectedly] positive campaign. Head coach Fred Dusart summed it up when he said everybody had expected Villeneuve to lose. They went into the game without their leading playmaker Virginie Bremont and Bourges had already dominated them in a couple of domestic games.

There is also no doubt that ESBVA-LM have had some previous issues getting players into the flow. Competitors such as Nevena Jovanovic, have suffered on the bench for much of the season. Yet it was noticeable that the Serbian jumped out of her shooting slump and laid the foundation for this critical victory.

The player who has been keeping her minutes [and productions down] has been veteran Johanne Gomis and she also showed her class by handing the ball more in the absence of Bremont. This was a fine victory indeed for Coach Dusart and his players. They are 3-3 after many had tipped them to be 2-4 [or worse] and to struggle badly.

In contrast, Bourges Basket are 1-5 and that continues to be ridiculous in the weakest Group without the likes of Fenerbahce, UMMC, Yakin Dogu Universitesi and Schio.

Bourges looked a lock to win against ESBVA-LM, but the pressure told and they choked. I still feel that while defensively sound, they don't have the creative talent outside of Marine Johannes in the backcourt to make a difference at this level. Their power, depth and physicality might be enough to bully teams in the LFB, but you need something extra in EuroLeague Women.

Coach Lafargue must be pulling his hair out. They have a chance to pull their season around in the next two weeks with games against Sopron and Prague. It is a sobering thought that while 3-5 will look so much better, there is a very real possibility of them being 1-7 in this easier Group if they don't step things up.

Finally, BLMA are simply being battered due to a lack of bodies. I feel for the likes of Giorgia Sottana who has such quality and is doing her best to be a leader on and off the court in her first season away from her homeland. It probably isn't what it said in the brochure.

Montpellier are 1-5 and with the club parting ways with Ewelina Kobryn and rising star Ornella Bankole suffering an ACL, they need re-enforcements as quickly as possible.

Team Performance of the Week – Last week was tough for a lack of obvious choices and this week is difficult because of so many choices. I have to hand credit to Wisla Can-Pack for getting a first win, as did Castors Braine. Yakin Dogu Universitesi were also impressive in dismantling Fenerbahce. But, my award goes to ESBVA-LM for beating Bourges.

Individual Performance of the Week – Even if they were playing a short-handed BLMA, every team with 5 losses before a win needs a leader to show them the way. That is why Maurita Reid was so important for Wisla CANPACK with a trademark all-action 22 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals.

Cameo Performance of the Week – Celeste Trahan-Davis took the headlines for Castors Braine against CCC Polkowice, but I thought Antonia Delaere did a great job before fouling out.

She claimed 10 points [including a couple of major triples], 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 0 turnovers in 28 minutes. Smart and understated, it was a vital cameo.

Number Crunching
Birsel Vardarli Demirmen became the 7th player to hand out 10 assists in a game this season when she accomplished the feat for Fenerbahce during a defeat at Yakin Dogu Universitesi.

Cheyenne Parker is only the second player to pull down 7 offensive rebounds in a game after she did so for Wisla CANPACK against BLMA.

Even if Perfumerias Avenida managed to eventually post a late surge to get past Nadezhda, the game highlighted why they need an injection of shooting talent and an upgraded three-point threat.

The addition of Kim Mestdagh looks to fit those requirements very nicely and I am looking forward to her pulling on that Avenida vest next week.

Finally, that move by Alba Torrens against Schio. Seriously? It's now firmly in my All-Time Top 10 in the women's game. I have watched it over, and over and over. Eurohoops.net compared it to something from the locker of Dejan Bodiroga.

You can follow Paul via @basketmedia365