Final Four for Fenerbahce; Avenida, Bourges and Valencia force deciders
MUNICH (Germany) - Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding are off to the Final Four while the other three Quarter-Finals series will all go to a third game after one of the most entertaining and dramatic nights in memory.
Fenerbahce finished the job against Sopron Basket with ease, gaining revenge for last year's Final defeat by ending the reign of the 2022 winners with an 82-62 triumph.
There was just no stopping Emma Meesseman and Breanna Stewart as they both proved too hot to handle for the home defense, with Fenerbahce scoring 32 first quarter points and never looking back.
Meesseman was on fire and the Belgian barely missed as she accumulated 16 points, as well as 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals. Stewart poured in 25 points also adding 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Jelena Brooks shone for Sopron with a team high 21 points as the curtain came down on their campaign.
"We knew it was going to be hard and a difficult game as the fans always come out and support the team in Sopron, but we were able to put it together for the full 40 minutes," reflected Stewart afterwards.
"I think in Game 1 we struggled until the second half, but in this game we played well at both ends from start to finish."
There was one of the most epic games in recent EuroLeague Women history in Salamanca as Perfumerias Avenida leveled their series with ZVVZ USK Praha by taking a memorable 73-71 overtime win as Andrea Vilaro scored a buzzer beating tip-in.
That bucket came after Brionna Jones had scored a buzzer-beating basket for Praha to force the extra period. She finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Alyssa Thomas will feel unfortunate since she had an amazing 21 points and 17 boards for Praha.
However, this was Avenida's night and it was their defense and team spirit that shone through. Mariella Fasoula had 14 points and 6 rebounds for the Spanish side.
Valencia Basket Club kept their hopes of making a first ever Final Four alive with a pulsating 80-75 home win against Beretta Famila Schio. With both sides continuing the entertainment from Game 1, the supporters inside Fuente de San Luis were bouncing as the local favorites iced the game in crunch time to square the series.
Valencia had always looked the most likely, regularly building up handy leads, only for Schio to continue coming back. That was the scenario with less than 20 seconds on the game clock and the visitors having cut the gap to a solitary point. But, up stepped Lauren Cox with the go-ahead three that proved to be the dagger shot.
Young forward Raquel Carrera posted her best ever display in the competition with a stellar 21 points and 11 rebounds, with Leticia Romero doing the business in the backcourt with 11 assists. Schio were led by Costanza Verona who recorded an excellent 20 points and 7 rebounds.
Tango Bourges Basket bounced back from their Game 1 mauling at the hands of CBK Mersin Yenisehir Bld by beating their Turkish rivals 76-75 in a brilliant game for the fans at Le Prado. The home team always had their noses in front after a strong start in the opening quarter and having built up a double-digit deficit in the last quarter, only just fended off a late surge by the visitors.
Endene Miyem hit the free-throw in the last seconds to make it a two-possession game, with the narrow one point difference coming out of a buzzer-beating triple from Aleksandra Crvendakic.
It was Tiffany Hayes who lit it up for Mersin with 26 points, while Elizabeth Williams harvested14 points and 10 boards. However, they will have to do it all again back on Turkish soil due to a strong team display from Bourges, headlined by 22 and 16 points respectively from backcourt duo Yvonne Anderson and Alix Duchet.
The three remaining Quarter-Final games will all take place this Wednesday, March 22.