EuroLeague Women Review: Week 5
MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - Our women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen gives us his take on Week 5 of EuroLeague Women action.
END OF THE MOST AGONISING WAIT
Rarely during my career following the women's game, have I ever been so pleased to see a team win a game of basketball. I have nothing against Mersin [and indeed they are desperate for a victory too], but that was my emotion after CMB Cargo Uni Gyor ended their three-year losing streak of 28 games across EuroCup and EuroLeague Women.
To continue season after season, game after game, and then finally break such an agonising and barren run must have felt amazing to head coach Peter Volgyi and his team. Most of all though, this was a landmark win at the end of an agonising wait. It's one tied with the 2013 road tragedy that left the club, the city and the women's game in united grief.
Whether it's the case or not, it feels that Gyor can truly move on and write a new future with this important win - their first since those horrific events.
Those that lost their lives and were injured will never be forgotten and they would have been proud of the club for continuing in such unimaginable circumstances and finally getting a reward. Hopefully it is not a one-off and Gyor won't have to wait 28 games for their next victory. Congratulations to all involved.
FIFTH TIME LUCKY FOR HATAY
It seems plain wrong to use the term 'lucky' when it comes to Hatay BSB as they have lost so many close games this season and particularly domestically.
Their plight was exacerbated by a fruitless four games waiting for a historic first EuroLeague Women win. That cost the now former head coach, Ekin Bas his job.
But at the fifth time of asking, Hatay did make history with their 64-54 victory at CCC Polkowice and that must have felt sweet to the players. As I mentioned last week, EuroLeague Women can be brutal and relentless. The test for Hatay is to celebrate, but also remember that this means absolutely nothing in future weeks.
I am very happy they have found their feet and it's important for any rookie team to do so, but the Turkish SuperCup winners must use this as a launch-pad.
THE WEEKLY GONGS
Team Performance of the Week: While Hatay winning at CCC Polkowice was impressive, I have to hand it to Gyor for their 74-65 triumph at Mersin. Also remembering this was their first road win in almost four years and came off the back of what could have been a potentially demoralising 30-point reverse at home to Wisla Can-Pack during Week 4.
Individual Performance of the Week: Step forward Courtney Paris who helped history to happen, with her double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds for Hatay against CCC Polkowice.
Unsung Hero: It's hard to look beyond a stellar 31 points from Yvonne Turner as she inspired Uniqa Sopron to a win against Avenida. But, look behind her headline contribution and you will see an excellent 10 points and 11 rebounds from Sara Krnjic which was critical.
- The 34 points scored by Diana Taurasi for UMMC Ekaterinburg at ESBVA-LM was the second highest individual tally by any player this season.
- The 80% from the field from Jantel Lavender for Fenerbahce at Wisla Can-Pack was the best from any player this season who has taken 10 or more shots.
- I am so impressed with Uniqa Sopron and their 77-68 win against a talented Perfumerias Avenida side. It shows that after a difficult couple of years, the Hungarian champions are on an upward curve once again. I hope I am not being premature or placing a curse on them, but with three wins from their opening five games, let the good times roll once more in Sopron!
- It's becoming a regular footnote, but Mersin have the talent to have won at least one of their first five games. Playing Gyor was a gift on paper and yet they failed miserably. It was not only the loss, but the manner of the defeat that was concerning. It's very disappointing from a team that promised so much during pre-season and I hope they can recover as it will only get more difficult.
You can follow Paul @basketmedia365