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11 Valeriane Ayayi (ESBVA-LM) (photo: Emmanuel Roussel)
11/11/2016
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EuroLeague Women Review: Week 3

MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - Our women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen gives us his take on the third week of EuroLeague Women action.

GYOR WAITING FOR THAT GREEN LIGHT
They didn't win but that doesn't make it a moot point to refer to the exploits of CMB Cargo Uni Gyor. I state that because being highly competitive matters and I thought Peter Volgyi and his team did such a fine job against Fenerbahce. Along with most people, I had it down as a comfortable road win for the Turkish juggernaut.

Yet despite the vast differences in budget, depth and playing personnel, Gyor almost came away with victory and were one shot away from ending their losing skid [which went up to 27 games] and claiming one of their most famous wins.

Fenerbahce ove those close wins! #EuroLeagueWomen Group A: @cmbcargouni - @fbbasketbol. #basketball #women #gameday #Europe

A photo posted by EuroLeague Women (@euroleaguewomen) on

What was particular impressive is that they looked done and dusted at times, yet hung around. They got stronger and showed guts and made huge shots. You could see the belief and confidence flowing again - no doubt built off the back of their similarly strong effort in Schio a week earlier.

Sure, you can't ever be satisfied with losing, but if Gyor continue to show this level, one of the longest losing streaks in the competition’s history will be snapped soon enough.

HEARING THAT SENSE OF RELIEF
I can only imagine what it felt like for Frederic Dusart when he blew out those cheeks on the final buzzer and realised his team had got their first win of the season in a remarkable contest against Perfumerias Avenida. It looked like an emotional roller-coaster of significant proportions.

After a dream and eye-popping 21-0 start, it looked inevitable ESBVA-LM would coast to victory. Incredibly, they squandered that lead as Avenida showed what they are made of and suddenly the pressure and heat was cranked up on the home side. It was quite something for the supporters too.

I really can't imagine what would have happened had a team with all the talent of ESBVA-LM slumped to 0-3 after holding a 21-point advantage. But they didn’t and despite doing their best to throw away a first win [quite literally with an excruciating 27 turnovers], I thought they showed courage to finish strongly and get the job done.

I was especially interested in watching Alina Iagupova almost begging to be passed the ball and get fouled, so she could go to the line and sink her free throws. Not every player is so confident in that situation.

THE WEEKLY GONGS
Team Performance of the Week: I am torn between Gyor and ESBVA-LM and I am going to hand it to the French side because they had to deal with a sense of real pressure including an indifferent start to the season domestically, which potentially added fuel to the flames. But, credit to their fans for their support and to coach Dusart and his players. It's a real monkey off their backs to get rolling.
Individual Performance of the Week: Wisla Can-Pack fell to 0-3 in an agonising 76-75 loss to Schio. It was extra tough on Ziomara Morrison who did everything she could with 23 points and 10 boards - including shooting almost 70 percent from the floor, which is exceptional against tough cookies like Endene Miyem and Isabelle Yacoubou.
Unsung Hero: It was a super home win for Uniqa Sopron against Bourges Basket and I want to highlight teenage star Debora Dubei for her efforts.

77-69 💛💪 #proud #euroleaguewomen @wbsopron

A photo posted by D e b o r a D. (@deboradubei) on

She played almost half of the game and had 7 points, 5 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal and no turnovers at all. Sopron need that kind of level and smarts from a real upcoming star in Hungary - and beyond.

NUMBER CRUNCHING
- A week after making history as the first player to hand out 1,000 assists in the competition, Laia Palau served to underline her skills with an incredible 13 assists this week for ZVVZ USK Prague in their win at Mersin. It was the best by any player this season so far.
- Elizabeth Williams became the first player to block five shots in a single outing when she completed the feat for Nadezhda against CCC Polkowice.
- Yvonne Turner went to the line for 16 free throws for Sopron in the win against Bourges and that smashed the previous highest tally of 10.
- Dynamo Kursk shot a competition-high this season of 61.9% in their demolition of BLMA.

FOOTNOTES
- Where did the Bourges defence go by the way? They looked to be nailed-on for a dream 3-0 start and then gave up 31 points in the last period.
- At the other end of the spectrum, I have to give huge props to Avenida. I asked many times ahead of the season whether they would just have offensive firepower and be lacking in defensive intensity. How wrong I was. After three games, they fully occupy the steals podium with 21, 17 and 14 in each outing so far. That’s tremendous.

You can follow Paul @basketmedia365

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