11 October, 2016
16 April, 2017
35 Angel Mccoughtry (Dynamo Kursk) (photo: Anne Perrinet)
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EuroLeague Women review: Quarter-Finals

MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - Our women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen gives us his take on all the action from the EuroLeague Women Quarter-Finals.

The line-up for the Final Four is complete and I'm struggling to contain my excitement. There's some outrageously brilliant match-ups such as Anna Cruz against Laia Palau, Angel McCoughtry against Sonja Petrovic, Diana Taurasi against Allie Quigley, Alba Torrens against Candace Parker or Brittney Griner against Sandrine Gruda. And that is just a quick flavor. Circle it in your diaries everyone, cancel your dates for the Final Four weekend, close the curtains and don't even answer the phone or the front door. It could be a classic edition this year!


One of the defining features of these Quarter-Finals was some of the emerging players and top of the bill - that 28-point display from Marine Johannes as Tango Bourges Basket lost their shootout by 104-92 at home to Dynamo Kursk.

Still being talked of as a star of the future, the guard looked like a EuroLeague Women star of the present to me! What a statement performance that was!

Her team-mate Alexia Chartereau is still only 18-years-old and was terrific in the first game for Bourges in Kursk, when she almost helped her side complete what would have been one of the biggest shocks of the year!

Another fabulous prospect who has shown she can contribute at the highest level – and at the business end of the season.

Laura Quevedo of Perfumerias Avenida ended up losing 87-80 in the decisive third game in Istanbul, but produced a great performance off the bench with five-of-six floor shooting. She helped spark some life into Avenida and I loved her positivity and aggression.

Both Bourges and Perfumerias Avenida deserve a special mention. Avenida because they came so close to the upset against Fenerbahce and just kept getting up and coming back - time and time again. Their aggressive and up-tempo style is a joy and I have great admiration for the way they played and were coached. Especially at Pabellon Wurzburg!

It made for great entertainment.

As for Bourges - wow. They almost did the unthinkable in Kursk before just running out of gas. Then, they departed from their usual style to run and gun with their opponents in an offensive deluge on home soil. Although they now have serious business to attend to if they want to return to EuroLeague Women. Struggling in the French League, Valerie Garnier and her players might have to win the French Cup to take a return ticket.

Team Performance of the Quarter-Finals: No, they didn't qualify for the Final Four, but Perfumerias Avenida destroyed Fenerbahce in that second game in front of their noisy 3,000 fans. Fenerbahce had no answer and the result disguised a brutal beating. Indeed Candace Parker came up with the quote of the season by admitting: "They punched us in the face."
Individual Performance of the Quarter-Finals: There were so many excellent individual performances throughout the Quarter-Finals and apologies to Alexandria Quigley in particular who was fabulous for Fenerbahce. But, I thought Angel McCoughtry of Dynamo Kursk looked unstoppable for a time at Le Prado against Tango Bourges Basket. Unplayable even. She finished the contest with 33 points and nobody could compete with her athleticism, tenacity and direct approach. But, can she do it at a Final Four? She still hasn’t delivered a EuroLeague Women title yet.

Unsung Hero of the Quarter-Finals: Former EuroLeague Women MVP Kia Vaughn isn't used to this category. She hasn't been shooting the ball that well of late for ZVVZ USK Prague either. Yet, even taking into account that she didn't have to contend with the injured Amanda Zahui, the center pulled down 10 rebounds in the 70-57 win in Orenburg and her assigned defensive responsibilities saw Elizabeth Williams and Natalia Anoikina go a combined 5-of-20. It was vital.

ZVVZ USK Prague have some hard as nails players and the ultimate EuroLeague Women 'know-how' in Natalia Hejkova. It was a combination they needed to dig themselves out of a hole. When you have lost four successive games, it takes a lot to then produce a pair of victories at this stage - especially against a hard-nosed Nadezhda.
UMMC Ekaterinburg were just awesome and it's still hard to look past the champions on their current form.
- Finally, two words. Sonja Petrovic. How good? Not always in the headline-making way, but I just love everything she does. Still my absolute number one in the women’s game. Well, everyone is allowed a favorite player, aren't they?

You can follow Paul @basketmedia365