Game of the Week: Will under pressure Avenida beat Schio to end their losing streak?
SALAMANCA (Spain) - The pressure has cranked up on Perfumerias Avenida as they prepare to face Beretta Famila Schio looking to revive their fortunes after a big mid-season dip in form and change of coach.
Facing a potentially damaging fourth loss in a row if they don't take victory against the Italians, they have to pick themselves up from last week's disappointment when they were 19 points up against Basket Landes but then agonizingly shot down in overtime.
Additionally, they parted ways with Roberto Iniguez this past weekend - someone who delivered success and, of course, took them to the Final Four last year. In his place will be former Avenida Assistant Pepe Vazquez, who most recently has been playcaller at CB Bembibre.
So, during these challenging times, and after three disappointments on the road, they will need the support of the famously loud fans inside Pabellon Wurzburg. Perhaps with that renewed home comfort, they will be determined to get back onto a winning track.
You can watch the live broadcast of the game between Perfumerias Avenida and Beretta Famila Schio on the EuroLeague Women YouTube channel on Wednesday, January 18 at 20:30 CET.
Form guide: Avenida were flying last month and looking like genuine contenders for a Final Four return having won five of their opening six games. However, they are now 5-4 after losses against Spar Girona, CBK Mersin Yenisehir Bld and Basket Landes. They are fourth in Group B with five wins and four losses. Meanwhile, in the Spanish league they are in third place at 12-5.
Schio are in second place in Group B with a 6-3 record although they have lost three of four outings on their travels so far this season. Domestically, they are yet to lose and are top of the table in Italy with 16 wins.
Last meeting: The teams met in the third week of the new season and Schio picked up a convincing 71-54 victory that was founded on some impressive work in the paint and finishing from two-point range. Marina Mabrey fired 16 points, while Jasmine Keys claimed a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Can Serbian winger Aleksandra Crvendakic recapture her impressive form from earlier in the season with Avenida?
Key matchup: If Avenida want to re-discover some rhythm and get wins back on the board, then Aleksandra Crvendakic needs to move back up the gears. Her impressive early season work was behind a strong start to the season and since she has lost form, so has her team. She is likely to go up against Rhyne Howard on the wing, who in stark contrast, has caught the eye recently with a team best display last time out against Spar Girona.
'X-factor': Both teams are capable of punishing defense. There is very little between these opponents in terms of the numbers, although Avenida have generally shot the ball better from outside. Small details and decision making will be more vital than ever, but maybe nothing more so than the 'X-Factor' of having to adjust to being without Coach Iniguez . Plus, within the context of the slump that Avenida are experiencing, it feels like much will hinge on whether the home team can get a fast or even solid start for the confidence to come flooding back.
Wednesday, January 18
Olympiacos SFP v Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding - 17:30 CET
Atomeromu KSC Szekszard v Valencia Basket Club - 18:00 CET
ZVVZ USK Praha v Tango Bourges Basket - 19:00 CET
Virtus Segafredo Bologna v BC Polkowice - 20:30 CET
Thursday, January 19
DVTK Hun-Therm v Sopron Basket - 18:10 CET