EuroLeague Women Review: Week 11
MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - Our women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen gives us his take on all the EuroLeague Women action from Week 11 of the Regular Season.
THE MOST UNLIKELY MAGIC FROM MERSIN
During the last 36 hours or so, I have been racking my brains. Has there ever been a more unlikley win in EuroLeague Women? I am not sure there has - or at least since I have been covering the competition.
Here's the deal. I wrote last week how Mersin had hit rock bottom after an embarrassing capitulation in Prague. They are 0-10 in the Group and they start out against Beretta Famila Schio 0-17 in the opening few minutes.
At that moment, a win looked as far away as you could ever imagine, yet to their utmost credit, the coach and the players dug deep and finally showed what they can do by coming back to take a remarkable 65-61 victory.
It ensured that nobody will forget their historical maiden success - that's for sure.
But while amazing and deserving of a big thumbs-up, it tastes slightly bitter-sweet to me, because if they can do that, then what was the excuse/reason for losing 10 straight games?
I am still scratching my head and whatever the detractors of women's basketball say, I remain firmly in love with its excessive unpredictability!
THE QUARTER OF THE SEASON SO FAR
I wondered at half-time whether the still unbeaten Dynamo Kursk could respond to trailing another juggernaut like Fenerbahce by double-digits.
The answer was emphatic. So much so, that the 35-13 third quarter logged by Lucas Mondelo and his side surely must be logged as the most impressive 10 minutes of the season. The ability to dominate a class side like Fenerbahce in such a manner was breathtaking, as they did the double over their title rivals with an 86-79 victory.
To be fair to Fenerbahce, they came back and could even have won the game. It gave a glimpse of what we might end up with at the Final Four and it could be epic! Certainly the message has remained the same all season long - with Kursk, Fenerbahce, UMMC and Prague still looking like the prime candidates for the season finale.
THE WEEKLY GONGS
Team Performance of the Week: To be 0-10 for the season and then 0-17 in a game, but still take victory was incredible by Mersin and they get my nod for the historic success against Schio.
Individual Performance of the Week: I have to go with Courtney Paris for her double-double of 25 points and 14 rebounds to help Hatay take a nail-biting and vital 72-71 victory at ESBVA-LM.
It was not the headline figures which made the difference, but a magnificent 11-of-14 from the field.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Quite rightly Mersin grabbed the headlines and did so with another towering effort from Gintare Petronyte - supplemented by Aneika Henry, Nilay Kartaltepe. However, I thought that the smart 23 minutes played by my unsung hero Fahriye Bayraktar was absolutely pivotal and deserves recognition. Mersin's best work generally came with her on the floor.
- UMMC Ekaterinburg scored the second-highest tally by any team this season with their 97 points at Tango Bourges. It was also the highest score by any team on their travels as well.
- Swedish center Amanda Zahui became only the fourth player this season to hit double-digits in offensive boards during a game when she achieved the feat for Nadezhda during their win at Uniqa Sopron.
- There was quite a shot from Marine Johannes of Bourges in their meeting with UMMC!
- Group A is just about done now with Dynamo Kursk and ZVVZ USK Prague into the Quarter-Finals and Fenerbahce all but a lock too. That leaves just one spot and realistically, a straight shoot-out between BLMA and Schio with three Regular Season games to play. The former are 6-5 and the Italians are 5-6. Next week's fixtures for each team? Yes, Schio v BLMA. What are match-up that will be!
-There was an interesting feature on UMMC's assistant coach Sandy Brondello which is worth checking out here.
You can follow Paul @basketmedia365