My EuroCup Women 2019-20 season awards
NEWCASTLE (Paul Nilsen Women's Basketball Worldwide) - With the pause button having been pressed on the EuroCup Women campaign due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, I've been reflecting on who impressed during 2019-20.
So, without further delay, here are my season awards:
All-EuroCup Women Second Team
Brianna Kiesel of Artego Bydgoszcz averaged more than 14 points per game and even more impressively, finished the season with an average of 7.4 assists per game which was the second best in the competition as she helped the Polish side make the Round of 16.
Arike Ogunbowale of Orman Genclik took her first footsteps in what was her rookie pro season overseas. It proved a great success for the Dallas Wings star, who netted 21.9 points per game, along with 4.1 rebounds and 3 assists, helping her side into the Round of 8.
Tinara Moore of Cadi La Seu was the do-it-all driving force that propelled the newcomers on a magical ride all the way to the Round of 16. She starred for the Spanish club with 12.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, as well as shooting an excellent 57 percent from the floor.
Billie Massey of Basket Hema SKW had a super campaign as the rising star reminded everyone of her potential for the future by catapulting her team to history as they made it past the Regular Season. That was thanks mainly to her amazing 10.5 points and 15.6 rebounds per game.
Erica McCall of KSC Szekszard shot the lights out for her team during the campaign and never seems to get many plaudits, but deserves recognition for being one of the most consistent performers. She averaged a wonderful 62 percent from the floor en-route to 14.8 points and 9 rebounds per game.
All-EuroCup Women First Team
Yvonne Anderson of Besiktas TRC Insaat brought it in a big way and was one of the most dominant performers. She averaged superb numbers across the board, including being top scorer in the competition with 27.2 points per game. If some people want to try to diminish this by stating she played twice against the struggling Prishtina, you must surely recognize she was the most efficient player in the tournament too. and also topped the steals chart with 3.4 per game. Anderson also had a fine average of 5.6 assists,and 4.8 boards as Besiktas reached the Round of 16.
Tiffany Mitchell of Ramla may not have made it past the Regular Season after the Israeli club were squeezed out, but I am not going to deny her a place because of this/ The USA guard was sensational in so many ways, with some great highlights and of course, excellent performance and numbers. She poured in 25.7 points per outing, while also racking up a tremendous season double-double after pulling down 10.3 rebounds per game! She also contributed with 3.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
Tiffany Hayes of Perfumerias Avenida showed that you can still stand out on a relatively stacked roster. She is very much my 'team pick' meaning that her numbers might not be as jaw-dropping as some, but she really did her job so very well within the context of her situation and the players alongside her. She harvested 14.3 points per game despite only playing an average of 20 minutes each night, helped by a super 59 percent shooting. Hayes also added 5 rebounds and almost 2 assists per game too as she helped Avenida cruise into the Quarter-Finals.
Kyara Linskens of WBC Enisey enhanced her reputation with an excellent season as the Belgian showed her varied skill-set nicely to guide the Russian club to the Round of 16. She had a double-double campaign with 12.2 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, also finishing in the Top Five of the competition for efficiency, mainly off the back of her smooth shooting inside which topped 60 percent. Linskens also handed out 2.4 assists and underlined her new status as a leader in this competition.
Courtney Paris of Orman Genclik was a powerhouse as usual with some eye-popping numbers that we should not just react to with a shrug of the shoulders because we have seen it all before. The center continues to do an incredible job and took Orman Genclik to the Round of 8 having been rampant in the paint as always, managing to amass a bulging double-double of 13.7 points and 14.7 rebounds per game. Throw in 62 percent field goal shooting and an often overlooked 2.6 assists per game from her willingness to kick it out from the low post to the shooters and you have to be impressed.
Coach of the Year (or make that Coaches...)
It has taken me weeks to try and separate their accomplishments, but I just can't and so I am making this a joint award by handing it equally to Julie Barennes of Basket Landes and Ruben Burgos of Valencia Basket SAD. They have both done superb jobs in my opinion. Barennes had to face EuroLeague Women Qualifiers participants in the form of the highly ambitious Aluinvent DVTK Miskolc, but masterminded a double to ensure they finished the Regular Season with an amazing 6-0 record.
That was the same outcome achieved by Coach Burgos with Valencia as he made sure it was a debut campaign to remember. Both playcallers took their teams to the Quarter-Finals and deserve huge praise. Congratulations!
Young Player of the Year
She may have had some disappointment at not having been selected in the 2020 WNBA Draft, but Billie Massey of Basket Hema SKW can reflect on a truly stunning season - most of which was played as a teenager until she turned 20-years-old recently. Stepping out in each game like a veteran leader which is way beyond her years, Massey accumulated a spectacular double-double season of 10.5 points and 15.6 rebounds per game. Now she must focus on getting minutes with the senior Belgium team because there is definitely a space to be taken in their frontcourt rotation.
My 2019-20 MVP
While Besiktas JRC Insaat didn't make it past the Round of 16, I can't punish Yvonne Anderson for this and on balance, I believe her spectacular performances warrant the crown of MVP. Especially with the season having been put on hold. She could not have done any more for her team and you have to respect an immense all-action season.
Finally, apologies to those players on the fringes and those I might have missed, since I could have picked around 15-20 genuine contenders to be in these All-First and All-Second Teams. This highlights just how deep the talent pool is in the competition and I can't wait for the moment when it gets back underway again.
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