EuroLeague Women Review: Week 8
MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - Our women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen gives us his take on all the EuroLeague Women action from Week 8 of the Regular Season.
BOURGES REVERT TO TYPE
For many years, it has been defense that has proven the main meat and drink in EuroLeague Women for Tango Bourges Basket. It was perhaps inevitable that after making major changes and losing one of their leaders in Celine Dumerc last summer, it might take some time for that defensive identity to truly leave the necessary imprint on the new-look team.
Sure, Bourges won some games early. But when they were under some serious pressure to win against ESBVA-LM [to avoid falling to 3-5 and letting their rivals improve to 5-3], it was the defense that rose to the same kind of level as previous years. They threw the defensive blanket over their opponents in the 63-42 victory and having suffocated the ESBVA-LM offense, they are now 4-4 in Group B with their rivals.
The reaction of injured captain Johannah Leedham, who was on the bench during the game, spoke volumes.
FINALLY WE PLAY SOME DEFENSE 😛😛 AWEEESOMMEEE AWESOMMEE TEAM EFFORT TONIGHT!!!— johannah leedham (@joey_leedham13) January 11, 2017
Le Prado was bouncing again because the home fans reveled in seeing Bourges not just win, but watching another team's offense melt before their eyes. It felt just like the old days.
And, with the likes of the exciting Marine Johannes always around to add some flair to proceedings, it was a classic EuroLeague Women night for the Bourges faithful.
While Yvonne Turner and her very nice 34-point haul for Uniqa Sopron took the headlines in the 76-64 home win against CCC Polkowice, I thought the presence of recent signing Shenise Johnson was the difference.
Back in a yellow and green vest playing in EuroLeague Women, it has given Sopron a great boost at a great time, having looked like they were on the slide. She could be the player that keeps them in an altogether unexpected hunt for fourth spot.
It was also nice to see Kristen Mann suiting up with BLMA again in their win against Mersin, who themselves fielded a former EuroLeague Women performer in Aneika Henry.
THE WEEKLY GONGS
Team Performance of the Week: It's the easiest choice of the season so far! Tango Bourges because of the way they dealt with the pressure and shut down ESBVA-LM for a great win.
Individual Performance of the Week: It wasn't en-route to a victory, but 20 points and 21 rebounds on the road against a team like Nadezhda was impressive from Courtney Paris of Hatay.
Unsung Hero of the Week: She didn't get a win either, but I absolutely loved seeing Marzia Tagliamento score a smart eight points, dish out five assists and commit no turnovers for Beretta Famila Schio at Fenerbahce. Not bad for a young player who returned recently from surgery after a six-month injury lay-off.
Tagliamento also played some tenacious defence for Schio in Istanbul
- The 96 points scored by Dynamo Kursk against Wisla Can-Pack was the highest by any team in a game this season. They also dished up 28 assists, which was the second-best of the campaign.
- Hats off to Gintare Petronyte who is one of my players of the season despite Mersin still not having won a game. Every time she steps out she is consistent and produces. I hope the Lithuanian star can continue - as tough as it is when you are winless.
- On that note though, Mersin and CCC Polkowice now being a combined 0-16, is absolutely ridiculous and incomprehensible to me - at least taking into account the actual individual players the clubs have. I still think in the case of the latter in particular, Polkowice probably need a couple of hard as nails players for the tougher moments of games. Oh for a Marta Xargay type of star in there!
You can follow Paul @basketmedia365