Title chasing trio start 2023 in style; deja vu as Valencia take dramatic win
MUNICH (Germany) - Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding, CBK Mersin Yenisehir Bld and ZVVZ USK Praha showed why they're all frontrunners for this year's silverware after starting the new calendar year with big wins.
There was no stopping Fenerbahce as they torched the in-form BC Polkowice in brutal fashion, recording the highest tally by any club this season in a one-sided 111-61 success. If a 50-point win was not enough to convince some people they are the current favorites to be crowned champions, then the sight of Breanna Stewart and Satou Sabally both making their season debuts surely should.
Plus, this was their best team effort from the season, with five different ballers amassing double-digit scoring returns, led by Emma Meesseman who found top gear with 11 of 13 from the field on her way to a superb 25 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Sabally also went 7 of 9 from the floor to open her account with 17 points.
Meanwhile, shrugging off the departure of Jonquel Jones, Mersin showed there is more than one potential champion in waiting from Turkey. They impressed in taking down Perfumerias Avenida 85-80, getting the job done down the stretch.
Mariella Fasoula was a real handful for the visitors with a clinical 22 points, but the home side had too much and it was former Avenida standout Tiffany Hayes who haunted her former club. She claimed an all-action 17 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, while DeWanna Bonner top scored with 21 points and Chelsea Gray dished up 9 assists.
ZVVZ USK Praha stormed their way to a convincing 95-56 triumph at Atomeromu KSC Szekszard, streaking clear after a powerful 32-13 second quarter. The Czech team also benefitted from the usual impactful one-two punch of Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones.
The former harvested her usual near triple-double with 20 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds, with her teammate putting up 19 points and 10 rebounds as Praha improved to 6-2.
There was a major sense of deja vu for Valencia Basket Club as they completed another intense and dramatic win against Virtus Segafredo Bologna. Mirroring their two-point win on the opening day of the season, they snatched a 75-73 victory from the jaws of defeat.
The Italians held a double-figure advantage, but they pressed the self-destruct button with a string of big turnovers in the closing minutes to leave the back door open for Valencia. The Spanish side took full advantage as Marie Guelich hit a last-gasp winning bucket. She finished with 17 points, while Raquel Carrera had 19 points alongside her after going 8 of 10.
Olympiacos SFP continue to search for a first victory of the campaign after they suffered loss number 8 when going down 81-66 at home to Tango Bourges Basket. Needing a good start to boost confidence, the hosts didn't get it as Bourges piled on the agony early with 27 points in the opening period.
Once ahead, they were always in control, even if Olympiacos did pour in 31 points during the third quarter in an attempt to rescue the game, helped by an eventual 21 points and 10 boards from Megan Gustafson. Bourges had a more balanced approach and were paced nicely by 15 points and 8 assists in the backcourt from Yvonne Anderson, with Endy Miyem using her experience with 16 points and 6 boards in the frontcourt.
A last quarter lockdown of Basket Landes facilitated a hard-fought 65-54 win for Spar Girona as they restricted their cross-border rivals to just six points during the final 10 minutes of action. Now at 5-3, the result also means Girona share top spot in Group B.
Australian center Marianna Tolo went to work against her ex-employers to garner her highest score of the season with 22 points, while Rebekah Gardner also brought her 'A-game' by adding a smart 15 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists against a Landes side who have now slumped to 1-7.
Two more games take place on Thursday to round out the first week's action of 2023.