20 September, 2023
14 April, 2024
Game Report
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USK Praha finish Final Four with a win

MERSIN (Türkiye) - ZVVZ USK Praha responded to their disappointment in Friday’s Semi-Finals by signing off their campaign with a one-sided 95-67 success against Cukurova Basketbol Mersin in the Third-Place Game.

Having lost as host club in the same game last year, this time it was Cukurova rather than Praha who had to endure finishing fourth.

Turning Point:
There wasn't one in reality, since one Praha got their noses in front early in the game they never looked back and held double-digit leads at various intervals. Cukurova briefly rallied in spurts but never offered the level of sustained resistance that you would expect from their roster.

Game Heroes:
There was a powerful three-punch for Praha, with the excellent Spanish playmaker Maite Cazorla doing the business in the backcourt and claiming 19 points and 6 assists. Valeriane Ayayi impressed again on the wing with 21 points and 8 rebounds, while Ezi Magbegor came alive in the paint to drop a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards.

Stats Don't Lie: The difference in shot percentages was vast, with Cukurova converting only just over 30 percent, while Praha shot more than 50 percent from the field.

The Bottom Line: ZVVZ USK Praha came close to making the title game on Friday but didn't execute down the stretch. They salvaged pride with this Third Place, one better than last season. Valeriane Ayayi was outstanding across the two games and it was their superior team work and ball movement that got it done.

Cukurova looked like it was a game too far for them as they struggled to find any cohesion as a group and reverted to a lot of one on one ball. Being outscored 29-11 in the final quarter as hosts will have felt especially painful.

They said: "There was a big difference to how we played Friday and how we played today. This was similar to how we have played all season. The reason was that we played with a point guard. In that first game, Maite (Cazorla) was injured. Today it was totally different. We played team defense and offense. I appreciate I have a great team." - Natalia Hejkova (ZVVZ USK Praha)

"You could see the difference. We played aggressive and we started to run. I feel like we showed up. It was a big effort. [Valeriane] Ayayi is a great leader. She does a lot of great things on this team. She helps us a lot with her leadership and is always communicating with us." - Maite Cazorla (ZVVZ USK Praha)

"First of all I want to congratulate Praha. They played really good. It is is hard to lose like that in front of our own fans. It was a big shame. Both teams were tired but we should still have to give our best." - Virag Kiss (Cukurova Basketbol Mersin)

Post-Game Press Conference: