2012 EuroCup Women Arras and Hainaut Basket get the job done
The EuroCup Women does not get the publicity of EuroLeague Women basketball but in the North of France this competition is taken seriously.
Arras already had a 23-point lead from the first leg road victory against Basket Landes so qualification for the quarter-final was expected.
However for Saint Amand Hainaut Basket, qualification was not so certain. They came into the second leg with a just a 6-point lead (69-63) against Dexia Namur from Belgium.
Due to the fact that it takes about 90 minutes to travel from Namur to Hainaut Basket, the match had a derby feeling with the gym packed with around 1300 supporters from both clubs.
Hainaut Basket did not have the game all their way and went into the locker room trailing (31-30).
With just over three minutes played in the third quarter the teams were still level (38-38) and the Belgium fans and players were still dreaming of an upset.
However Hainaut Basket finally got their game going with a 18-0 run in four minutes to put the game out of reach of their opponents (56-38).
Corinne Bénintendi, the head coach of Hainaut Basket, kept on calling out instructions and moved up and down her bench as she kept her players focused to maintain the advantage going into the final quarter (61-43).
The last quarter was an anti-climax as the game was just played out with the hosts winning (77-59) and the series 146-122.
Daniel Goethals, the coach from Dexia, was disappointed in the defeat and despite having a young team was not ready to use that as an excuse for the defeat.
The loss of Ify Ibekwe who averaged 21.5 ppg for the Belgium team did help Hainaut Basket in their win. Ibekwe who had decided not to return after the Christmas break had scored 58 points in the last two games which had helped to eliminate Nantes-Rezé during the group phase.
For Bénintendi the qualification for her team is historical, an achievement made more remarkable because Hainaut Basket only qualified for the EuroCup Women after Challes-les-Eaux declined.
Hainaut Basket's next opponents are Kayseri Kaskispor.
Arras like EuroCup Women as they ease into quarter-final
Basket Landes gave the impression that with their 11-4 run during the first four minutes of this match they came to play for a place in the quarter-final. However this was just an illusion because by the end of the first quarter Arras had the lead (18-15).
From the second quarter onwards, the game became rather defensive with a high number of turnovers. Arras went into the locker room in front (31-29).
The match was held up for several minutes at the start of the third quarter because the 24-second device stopped working. A solution was found and the match resumed with the two teams scoring just 12 points between them in the quarter.
The final quarter was more lively with Arras keeping the upper hand to win the game (55-45) with 15 points coming from Gabriela Marginean (in picture).
Arras won the tie 128-95 and will now meet BC Chevataka.