09 October, 2018
14 April, 2019
Natalia Hejkova (USK) | Photo: Paolo Marcato
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Hejkova expertise, Kudos for Zibarts and the Blue Tide headline talking points

MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - The second week of EuroLeague Women threw up some intriguing issues with a couple of coaches making a big impression in these early stages of the new campaign.

Here are the top talking points of the week - according to our women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen aka @Basketmedia365

The expert hand of Hejkova

Losing big players is part of being a coach in this competition, but the way that ZVVZ USK Prague have shrugged off the loss of their three top scorers from 2017-18 in Amanda Zahui, DeWanna Bonner and Marta Xargay has been hugely impressive. They are not just 2-0, they are unbeaten with two tricky road wins at Nadezhda and Famila Schio under their belt. Credit to the players obviously, but it shows the value of a veteran hand in Natalia Hejkova. Nobody is more experienced or successful in this competition and I imagine everyone associated with the club were relieved they persuaded her to continue. Sure, it is early days so we won't get too excited, while one other talking point is the lack of domestic competition for the Czech powerhouse. It means they are arguably more rested for EuroLeague Women, but would they be even better if they had more challenging games each weekend? An interesting debate!

Kudos to Coach Zibarts for the TTT show

When the plane wheels lifted up from the runway on Tenerife, I expected that Martin Zibarts was doing some soul-searching as his Latvia team exited the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup having failed to win a game and most hurtfully losing to Senegal. It had meant to be something more fruitful and exciting as their first ever trip in the competition. Especially with so many fans behind them. Some coaches might have crumbled. The best possible way to put the pride back into Latvian basketball is to get out there and turn heads in positive fashion. So maximum kudos to Coach Zibarts for the response that has seen TTT Riga destroy Reyer Venezia in the Qualifiers, come within one basket of beating the mighty Dynamo Kursk and this week, win on the road in Hatay. They have also done it playing attractive basketball. Hats off, Coach!

Is there any place better than Pabellon Wurzburg?

I have covered this so many times before, but it never gets boring to ask the question - Is there a better home court crowd or atmosphere in EuroLeague Women? Pabellon Wurzburg enjoyed another famous EuroLeague Women night as they beat Fenerbahce in that overtime thriller. Unless you are a Fener fan, you were treated to arguably the best game of the season so far.  It was noticeable that Avenida were a little flat and struggling in this game, but the sheer noise of the crowd became deafening and as the energy cascaded down onto the floor, the team fed off it. Seen it so many times and it is always something that just makes you want to be at the venue - watching the 'Blue Tide' getting behind their team in big numbers. Impressive.

Petrovic picks up the baton from Stewart

After Breanna Stewart showed out during Week 1 on her debut for Dynamo Kursk, it was interesting that Sonja Petrovic chose to sprinkle her own stardust around in the clash against Carolo Basket. A near perfect 8-of-9 from the field and it underlined that stopping one of them is never going to be enough. It also got me thinking about whether Petrovic and Stewart could be the best 3-4 combo (or wherever Coach Mondelo puts them) of the modern era - at least potentially. I am so excited that we will soon find out and can have the honor of watching this combination develop.

Under the Radar

It's time to look at some of the numbers and issues that may have slipped under the radar and so here goes:

- ESBVA-LM had the same rebounds as points against Castors Braine! They were the first team to go past 50 on the glass with 51 rebounds.

- Props to Avenida's Krisi Givens for coming up with 5 big steals against Fenerbahce.

- Nadezhda became the first team to spill the ball more than 20 times in a 2018-19 Regular Season game against Bourges, with their opponents clutching a joint season-high 14 steals.