The heart of Sopron, 'Johannessists' and career high for Rupert headline talking points
MUNICH (Germany) - Week 12 will go down as another brilliant and gripping chapter in this EuroLeague Women Regular Season which continues to throw up all kinds of surprises.
Here are the main talking points – according to our women's specialist Paul Nilsen, aka @Basketmedia365
Sopron seal best win of entire season
Best win of #EuroLeagueWomen season?— Paul Nilsen: WBB Consultant (@basketmedia365) February 6, 2019
Facing 4 losses in a row, @WBSopron @Robertoih5 beat 11-0 @KurskBasket to end last perfect record.
Lots of serious 💚, preparation, team work, strategy & execution! Esp. to win in OT after mental blow in last seconds of regulation. pic.twitter.com/81cBxbn6KG
I have already answered my own question of course. To expand a little on the above tweet, the game between Dynamo Kursk and Sopron Basket was another super advert for the competition. On paper, a mismatch between the only unbeaten side left in the competition at 11-0 and a side who was staring at a possible fourth loss in succession. A fabulous win for Sopron ensued, but it was magically complicated as they tried their best to throw it away as Kursk forced overtime with a last-gasp triple, having been down by double digits with around 90 seconds of regulation remaining. It then looked like the hosts had got out of jail and it was merely a cruel blow for the visitors. I suspect like me, most people thought it was another bullet dodged and Kursk would push on and win. That happens so many times when the momentum shifts. But, Sopron came back again and I should know better than ever going against that expert EuroLeague Women navigator aka Roberto Iniguez. His players did him proud.
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It was a first ever haul of 10 or more assists in a game for the walking highlight reel that is Marine Johannes of Bourges Basket. Congratulations are due to her and while it was a pity it was not during a win at Le Prado, it was still a milestone to be proud of. Oh and I do think that there are mere assists and then there are 'Johannessists' - an assist which is ridiculously easy on the eye and from an altogether higher basketball brain that is geared to entertain us.to the absolute max. Nobody dishes them up quite as stylishly as MJ! And I hope young French guards are now ready to try and hand out some 'Johannessists' on the practice courts and in games. You need to do the calculation of "How can I get the ball from A to B in the most entertaining and stylish way, but still making it count?"
Rupert shows why WNBA draft future awaits
Iliana Rupert is a serious talent and still only 17 years old. She was another Bourges Basket player to hit a landmark this week as she registered her first ever double-digit score in the competition. And, she did it against the mighty UMMC and Brittney Griner. No doubt, it will be the first of many. And, she underlined why she is not only set to be a huge EuroLeague Women star moving forward and also with the French national team, but surely one of the highest ranked European WNBA draftees - when her time comes.
Permutations, permutations, permutations
These last two weeks have been crazy entertaining. Strap yourselves in for these last two weeks! Things could get incredibly complicated and so much so, that as I went to type how Fenerbahce had secured their place in the Play-Offs, a colleague warned me they were not there yet! That is because in theory, they could end up in a FOUR-way tie with Sopron Basket, Perfumerias Avenida and TTT Riga. Get ready with the calculators and watch out for our Live Blog next week when hopefully, we will have been in a dark room and worked out all the key permutations!
Under the radar
Natasha Howard made her home debut for Dynamo Kursk and while it was not a winning one, she grabbed more offensive rebounds than any other player in a game this season when she captured 9.