Unpredictability, a crazy first season for Carolo and some goodbyes dominate talking points
MUNICH (Germany) - The curtain has fallen on another EuroLeague Women Regular Season and the last week of action didn't disappoint.
Here are the main talking points - according to our women's specialist Paul Nilsen, aka @Basketmedia365
Crazy first season for Carolo Basket
The last two games of the Regular Season epitomized a roller-coaster rookie season of the most intense kind for French club Carolo Basket. In the penultimate week of the campaign, they were crushed at struggling Olympiacos who are also newcomers and at that point had only won a single game in the competition. We put Carolo way down in our Power Rankings and Carolo responded with that epic overtime success against Fenerbahce that will be remembered for a long, long time by those present. It was not only the perhaps unexpected win, but the atmosphere and the fact from the low of Greece, they hit the high point of punching a ticket to the EuroCup Women Quarter-Finals. It was a good time for Amel Bouderra to come up with a competition-high 14 assists. It was almost a reflection of the peaks and troughs endured by her on the court in a crazy campaign for the team. One that could yet see silverware lifted. Carolo have proven they can beat the top teams at home (Sopron Basket and Fenerbahce), but can they start doing the business on their travels?
Expect the unexpected
It was not just Carolo Basket who were unpredictable. It seems like this competition is getting harder to read with each passing year. A week ago, there was no guarantee that Sopron Basket (another up and down year) would even be in the Play-Off Quarter-Finals at all. With that superb win at TTT Riga, they finished second in the Group. It is just a pleasure to watch this competition. It really is. 'EuroLeague Women - Expect the unexpected' could, and probably should be a strapline to market what remains one of its biggest selling points!
That is the end of the road for Castors Braine, Olympiacos, Hatay and ESBVA-LM. They finished in the bottom two spots in their respective groups and we wave goodbye as a result. Hatay fell apart due to some issues off the court and lost key players, which was a frustration as we talked about them as potential Final Four material after a good opening way back in October. ESBVA-LM will have targeted EuroCup Women but were just pipped and suffered from not having a marquee difference-maker or scorer - as good as Magali Mendy has been. Castors Braine won their first game and that was the highlight before 13 successive losses. There was no history in terms of a first ever road win for Olympiacos, but they did take two victories - including the excitement of a maiden success. They probably have most reason to be proud, since the general consensus is that they were highly competitive and unfortunate not to have had at least two more triumphs to their name. They had the same issue as ESBVA-LM around needing a prolific scorer.
Keeping an eye on EuroCup Women
While we wave goodbye to the above quartet and look forward to the Play-Off Quarter-Finals, another four clubs have made the switch to what looks to be an incredibly exciting and wide open EuroCup Women competition. Perfumerias Avenida, Carolo Basket, Famila Schio and Nadezhda are all capable of winning the tournament and the teams who have reached the Quarter-Finals and played in EuroCup Women all season look just as capable. BLMA, Cukurova Basketbol, Spar Citylift Girona and Lyon ASVEL Feminin are all tough teams and it is impossible to pick a winner at this stage. It looks like being a stunning and thrilling end. A tick in the box for the continued competition system of parachuting four EuroLeague Women clubs into it at this crucial stage.
Under the radar
- Francesca Dotto of Famila Schio dished up 11 assists against Nadezhda and is the only player on her roster to have reached double digits in that category in a game this season.
- We have waited all season for someone to snap up 6 steals or more. We were left still wanting as nobody achieved the feat, despite 18 players snatching 5 steals in a game.
- Dynamo Kursk handed out 29 assists against Hatay this week and that is more than they have managed previously in any game this season.
- Both Bourges and Famila Schio chose the last week of the Regular Season to drop 12 triples in their respective games against ESBVA-LM and Nadezhda - more than they both have in any previous outing this season.