Two teams qualified for next phase of EuroLeague Women
The top EuroLeague Women matches are becoming more intense and interesting as teams juggle for ranking positions in the qualification for the second round play-off series.
The road to the Final Eight is still long but already Fenerbahçe SK and Ros Casares are assured a place in the second round.
The EuroLeague Women match day is very long with the first games of the round played in Russia six hours before the last games in central Europe.
The FIBATV game of the week featured UMMC Ekaterinburg against Galatasaray MP.
The game lived up to its billing with plenty of twists and turns which kept the home supporters clued to their seats till the very end.
UMMC Ekaterinburg won (85-80) but almost threw the game away in the final quarter.
UMMC struggled to contain Diana Taurasi for the first 20 minutes and only went into the locker room with a 2-point advantage (48-46) thanks to last buzzer beater by Cappie Pondexter.
In the third quarter we were treated to the best of UMMC, with show time basketball which enabled them to go into the final quarter leading (70-57).
However in the last quarter Galatasary were the better team and if not for three missed free throws early on the outcome might have been different.
For the Russians Candace Parker (right) led the way with 17 points (7 rebounds). If not for a couple of bad turnovers in the final quarter she would have had a near perfect game.
Pondexter was hot and cold all evening but still managed 15 points and 3 assists. Yelena Leuchanka followed up with 13 points while Sandrine Gruda finished with 10 points.
Taurasi was on fire for Galatasary. She finished the game with 28 points of which 23 came in the first 20 minutes. However she fired herself up so much that she had to sit out most of the third quarter with 4 fouls.
Tina Charles added 18 points while picking up 10 rebounds. Alba Torrens on her return from injury had 13 points.
Epiphanny Prince was missing from the line-up for Galatasaray. We are not really sure of the details but it appears that she is suspended from EuroLeague Women games against teams from the Russian Federation.
In the remaining games in Group AZVVZ USK Prague took no risks against VICI Aistes. They raced out to an opening quarter lead (31-19) and never looked back. They won the match (98-60) with Eva Vitecková leading the offense with 19 points.
Ros Casares have booked their ticket for the second round after beating Lotos Gdynia (84-70).
They led from start to finish but had to work hard. Ann Wauters led the way with 21 points while Laia Palau scored 14 points and dished out 13 assists. For Lotos Gdynia Géraldine Robert was the leading scorer with 16 points.
EuroLeague Women Group B: Fenerbahçe SK, first to qualify
Elena Danilochkina (left) from Nadezhda Orenburg knocked out Tarbes by herself. She scored 11 points during the first quarter as her team raced out to a (26-8) lead with just nine minutes played.
The contest was over from that point for Tarbes while the hosts cruised to a comfortable victory (72-54). Tarbes are yet to win a game and if they lose again next week they will be eliminated.
Pascal Pisan, the coach from Tarbes, put the defeat down to the time difference between France and Russia and that his players only managed three to four hours sleep a night in the two days before the match.
In the rest of Group B action, Fenerbahçe SK were great for the first 30 minutes as they controlled Beretta-Famila (70-48). They did not concentrate in the final quarter allowing the Italians to bring down the deficit.
All the same Fenerbahçe SK won (79-65) and have qualified for the second round of the 2012 EuroLeague Women. Penny Taylor (21 points) and Angel McCoughtry (8 points and 7 steals) were excellent while Ivana Matovic (21 points) dominated the offensive paint. For the Italians Cheryl Ford (18 points and 18 rebounds) was everywhere.
After three straight defeats Perfumerías Avenida are back on the winning trail upon beating UNIQA-Euroleasing Sopron (78-59). Marta Fernandez came up with her best EuroLeague Women game of the season and hit 22 points for the Spanish champions.
EuroLeague Women Group C: Not the best result for Montpellier
Sparta&K Moscow Region almost blew an 18-point lead as they held off Rivas Ecópolis (79-76) in a dramatic finish. For Sparta&K Moscow Russian international Irina Osipova was in fine form hitting 6-of-7 from the field by scoring 15 points.
Good Angels Kosice showed no mercy to their guests Gospic Croatia beating them (106-66). The winning margin could have been more but it appeared that nobody wanted to score the 100th point with 8 misses before Kayla Pedersen gave the home supporters what they wanted.
Once again Natalia Vieru who is on loan from Sparta&K Moscow Region shined for Good Angels with 20 points.
Lattes-Montpellier lost at home to Wisla Can-Pack (64-77). The Polish side took command in the second quarter and paced themselves to victory on the back of 25 points by Ewelina Kobryn. For Montpellier Edwige Lawson-Wade scored 18 points.
Cras Basket Taranto's victory against Frisco Brno (82-63) has resulted in the first elimination from the 2012 EuroLeague Women. With just one victory in 10 games Frisco Brno cannot catch the teams currently in fifth place.
The Italians were never in any real danger of losing this game. Simona Ballardini led the way with 16 points. Elodie Godin scored 12 points, picked up 10 rebounds and blocked 6 shots.
All the results from round 10:
UMMC Ekaterinburg 85-80 Galatasaray MP ZVVZ USK Prague 98-60 VICI Aistes Ros Casares 84-70 Lotos Gdynia Seat Unisze Györ vs Bourges Basket (15 December 2011)