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10 Kelsey Plum | Photo: Zsombor Toth
05/03/2018
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Which players will punch a Final Four ticket or force a decider for their teams?

MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) – As the first potential passes to the Final Four get lined up, we check out Wednesday's player match-ups that could decide whether those tickets get punched.

Laia Palau vs Courtney Vandersloot


Back in the competition after seemingly retiring following the Final Four last year when wearing a ZVVZ USK Praha vest, Laia Palau is going to have to roll back the years and pull out a vintage display if she wants to make a return to the season climax. Bourges were competitive for 25-30 minutes in Istanbul, but as soon as Courtney Vandersloot began growing in influence, Yakin Dogu Universitesi began to pull clear and became more dominant. Vandersloot racked up 13 assists and can't be allowed to dictate the play with as much freedom. Perhaps it will be down to the legendary Palau to use all of her experience to somehow try and slow her opponent down.

Cecilia Zandalasini v Angel McCoughtry


Always a threat and liable to be influencing any game, Angel McCoughtry showed last year that she likes to come alive in an even bigger way down the season stretch. She was immense last year in the Quarter-Finals en-route to eventually winning the title and being crowned MVP, so after a modest contribution on home soil during Game 1, will she look to now shift up a gear like in 2017? Her hard drives to the basket and aggressive play can be tough to stop – but that is likely to be an assignment handed to Cecilia Zandalasini. The Italian star played nicely in Kursk, although she may be required to explode offensively in this one if Schio want to force a third and deciding game. Stopping McCoughtry when she puts the ball on the floor near to the hoop is seriously tough, but then Zandalasini might feel she has the advantage in being able to shoot the lights out from any spot on the floor down the other end of the court. A fascinating battle awaits.

Kelsey Plum v Yvonne Turner


This maiden campaign has been a roller-coaster one for Kelsey Plum. She has had some Regular Season highs and also some doubts cast over her future at some junctures. However, she is now just 40 minutes away from possibly being the architect of what will be her first Final Four appearance. The Fenerbahce guard did not shoot well in the first meeting in Sopron as she returned figures of 2-of-10, so she will be looking to get her downtown game going as this is where she can often be a difference-maker. As for Turner, she was relatively well shackled defensively by Plum and without the firepower of the now departed Crystal Langhorne in the frontcourt for the Hungarians, the onus is on the guard to come up with a big score and register an even bigger performance.

Maya Moore v DeWanna Bonner


A couple of years ago when playing for Nadezhda, DeWanna Bonner was the player on everybody's lips as she propelled her team to a historic first-ever Final Four, maiden Final and within a whisker of a fairytale title. Since maternity leave, she is slowly but surely getting back to her classy best. Only she didn't shine in the first match-up with UMMC and the Phoenix Mercury standout was completely off-color - both in her numbers and her play. In contrast, Moore lit it up with 29 points and was the driving force behind Ekaterinburg's massive win. Unless Bonner brings it in this one and flips the tables, there won't be a decider in Ekaterinburg next week.

You can follow these match-ups and see how they unfold via our Live Updates.

FIBA