Augustus, Charles, Fowles Help Teams Earn Huge Wins In Week 7
December 10, 2010
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USA National Team players Seimone Augustus, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles helped power their struggling teams to much-needed victories this week.
Charles recorded a double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds as Nadezdha won its second straight, a 75-59 win over Frisco Sika Brno, to improve to 3-4 on the season.
Augustus poured in 18 points and grabbed six boards, while Fowles scored 20 points and had 12 caroms to lead Galatasaray Medical Park to an 85-83 victory over four-time Euroleague champion Spartak Moscow Region, featuring Australia's Lauren Jackson.
For the sixth week in a row, Diana Taurasi holds the league’s high scoring honors with a 24.6 ppg. average, while also dishing out a fourth-best 4.7 apg. She’s followed in the scoring standings by DeWonna Bonner (19.9 ppg.), Angel McCoughtry (19.6 ppg.) and Rebekkah Brunson (18.4 ppg.), who round out the top four. Tina Charles (17.7 ppg.) lists at No. 6, DeLisha Milton-Jones (17.4 ppg.) ranks No. 7 as the final current or former USA player in the top 10.
Charles (13.1 rpg.) and Cheryl Ford (13.1 rpg.) share the league’s high rebounding average, with Sylvia Fowles (10.4 rpg.) ranking fifth on the list, Bonner (10.0 rpg.) ranks sixth, and Brunson (9.9 rpg.) is seventh.
In addition to Taurasi, listing among the top 10 for assists is Lindsay Whalen, whose 4.6 apg. is good for No. 7. Among top 10 league steals leaders are Brunson (2.3 spg.) and McCoughtry (2.3 spg.), who are tied at No. 5; Fowles’ 1.3 bpg. lists tied for seventh on that list, while Courtney Paris is tied for ninth with 1.0 bpg.; Tina Charles’ six double-doubles leads the EuroLeague through seven games; while Brunson, Ford and Fowles are tied for third with four double-doubles apiece.
Next year’s EuroLeague schedule is guaranteed to look different. It was announced on Dec. 7 that instead of four groups of six teams each, the 2011-12 EuroLeague schedule will feature three groups of eight teams each. And instead of having a Final Four, there will be a Final Eight played in a city determined by the start of the season. We’re not sure what the playoff schedule will look like or if there will be quarterfinals, byes for top teams, or how it will all shake out. Keep an eye out for more EuroLeague announcements on next year’s schedule. If anything, it should make for some interesting preliminary round games.
Eighth-Final Playoff Teams Starting to Come Into View
Unlike FIBA events where there is a distinct crossover bracket where the top team from Group A goes up against the fourth-place finisher from Group B; once the EuroLeague Qualifying Round is complete, teams are ranked from Nos. 1-16. The top four finishing teams from each preliminary group will advance to the next round, however, A1 might actually play C3. It all depends on how the records shake out.
That being said, with three games to play, here are our predictions for which teams will advance to the next round:
Group A: Cras Basket Taranto (6-1) and Wisla Can-Pack Krakow (5-2) are no-brainers. Good Angels Kosice (4-3) will be among the teams advancing as they have the bottom two teams in the bracket over the next two weeks and will certainly claim at least one victory, if not two, in those games. Kosice faces Krakow in the final week, which will be an important game in terms of where they’ll both fall in the overall standings for the next round. We predict that the fourth and final spot will go to the winner of next week’s USO Mondeville (3-4) vs. Pécs 2010 (2-5) contest. Mondeville took the first game in the series 70-58, so Pécs must win by more than 12 points to move ahead of Mondeville. While still mathematically in the mix, TTT Riga (1-6) will not advance.
Group B: Fenerbache (7-0) and UMMC Ekaterinburg (6-1) will both advance. The only question will be: which team will win the group? That will be determined on the last day when the powerhouses go head-to-head in Turkey. We’re also going with the standings as they look today: MKB Euroleasing Sopron (4-3) and Rivas Ecópolis (3-4) will both live to play another round. Lotos Gdynia (1-6) and Gospic Croatia Osiguranje (0-7) haven’t been officially eliminated, but we predict they’ll not be in the next round of EuroLeague play.
Group C: This is the toughest group to predict. The team at the bottom, VICI Aistes Kaunas (2-5) has a pair of victories against the current top two teams in the bracket, Halcon Avenida Salamanca (5-2) and Spartak Moscow Region (4-3). As sure as we are about the advancing teams in Groups A & B, we are just as unsure with this one. In addition to the three teams mentioned, ZVVZ USK Prague (4-3), Galatasaray Medical Park (3-4) and Tarbes Gespe Bigorre (3-4) are just as much in the mix as everyone else. The group standings might shake out next week, but they could get murkier. Because of that, we’re not even touching this one.
Group D: The three teams in the current three-way tie at the top of the bracket, Beretta-Famila Schio (5-2), Ros Casares Valencia (5-2) and Bourges Basket (5-2), will advance. Bourges’ only two losses are to Schio and Valencia; Beretta-Famila dropped back-to-back games to Ros and Nadezhda (3-4) early in the year; and Ros’ two losses came in the last two weeks to Nadezhda and Bourges Basket. Our prediction for the fourth advancing team is Nadezhda, which got off to a slow start, but pulled out back-to-back wins the last two weeks and seems to be on an uptick. Not advancing will be KSSSE AZS-PWSZ Gorzow (2-5) and Frisco Sika Brno (1-6).
Week 7 Game Recaps
Good Angels Kosice 77, USO Mondeville 60
Good Angels Kosice (4-3) got off a two-game skid with a 77-60 defeat of host USO Mondeville (3-4) in France. After falling behind early, 23-11 at the end of the first quarter, Good Angels fought back and took the lead 3:54 into the second quarter. By halftime the Slovakian outfit held a five-point, 40-35, edge over the hosts.
Candice Dupree, who shot 10-of-17 from the field and finished with a game-high 23 points, scored seven in the third quarter as Good Angels expanded its lead to 65-49 and held on for the win.
In addition to Dupree’s 23 points, she added five rebounds and a pair of assists; while Charde Houston posted a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Lenae Williams scored a team-high 16 points for the hosts.
Wisla Can-Pack Krakow 67, Pécs 2010 57
Wisla Can-Pack Krakow (5-2) picked up its fifth win of the year and is assured of a playoff berth after dropping Pécs 2010 67-57 in Hungary. Ewelina Kobryn scored a game-high 26 points in the victory. Former DePaul standout Allie Quigley scored a team-best 13 points for Pécs.
Cras Basket Taranto 56, TTT Riga 42
Cras Basket Taranto (6-1) remained atop the standings with a 56-42 victory over TTT Riga (1-6). Cras Basket Taranto used a 17-8 second-quarter surge to pull in front and then outscored TTT Riga 16-9 in the third period to increase its lead before sailing in for the victory.
Brooke Smith had a game-high tying 14 points for Taranto, while Shavonte Zellous matched that for TTT Riga.
Fenerbache 92, Gospic Croatia 60
As expected, Fenerbache (7-0) remained undefeated and Gospic Croatia (0-7) stayed winless after the Diana Taurasi-powered Fener collected a 92-60 victory on the road.
Taurasi opened the game with a steal and a bucket, but by the 6:39 mark Gospic held a 13-8 lead. However, Taurasi pitched in seven points in a 17-4 run that turned the game around and left Fener ahead 24-17 following a Taurasi traditional 3-point play at 1:41. By the buzzer Fener’s lead was nine, 30-21. The visitors slowly increased their lead to 13, 48-35, at halftime and never looked back.
Taurasi, who scored 11 points in the first quarter, topped out with 18 points, five boards and four assists; teammate Penny Taylor led Fener with 19 points and 12 boards. Sandra Mandir was Gospic’s high scorer with 18 points.
Taurasi’s 18 points was a season low for the prolific scorer. Interestingly, she had a season high 34 points in Fener’s first meeting against Gospic earlier in the year.
UMMC Ekaterinburg 86, Lotos Gdynia 68
In the second not-so-surprising result in Group B this week, UMMC Ekaterinburg (6-1), featuring Cappie Pondexter, cruised past Lotos Gdynia (1-6) 86-68.
Trailing by two points, 20-18, as the second quarter started, UMMC put the hammer down in the period, outscored Lotos Gdynia 30-15 and went to the midway break with a 48-35 advantage. Lotos was not able to cut it to single digits in the second half as UMMC came out with the win.
France’s Sandrine Gruda led the stacked UMMC with 22 points, leading four in double-digit scoring, including Crystal Langhorne, who posted 18 points. Pondexter scored six points and dished out one assist. Serbian Milka Bjelica scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Lotos in both categories, while Monica Wright had 14 points.
Rivas Ecópolis 79, MKB Euroleasing Sopron 74
As expected, it was a tight game between host Rivas Ecópolis (3-4) and MKB Euroleasing Sopron (4-3) and Rivas prevailed with a close 79-74 win.
Rivas needs every win it can get in the final weeks and, fueled by DeWanna Bonner’s 33 points and 13 rebounds, got one against the Hungarian power MKB Euroleasing. It was a bit of revenge from the team’s 82-52 loss to MKB earlier in the year as Rivas took another step towards the playoffs.
Tijana Krivacevic was Sopron’s high scorer with 20, while McCoughtry finished with 17 points, five rebounds and had a disappointing eight turnovers.
“Well, Dewanna Bonner played a great game and I think that they wanted the game more than we did,” McCoughtry told FIBAEurope.com. “We have a lot of stuff that we have to work on in order to get better and be among the top teams in the EuroLeague, but we had a good chance to win this game."
ZVVZ USK Prague 78, Tarbes Gespe Bigorre 58
ZVVZ USK Prague (4-3) continued its march to the next round with a 78-58 victory over the visiting Tarbes Gespe Bigorre (3-4). Prague blew the game open in the second quarter with a 15-0 run, fueled in part by eight points from Lindsay Whalen and four from DeLisha Milton-Jones.
Holding a slim 18-17 margin, Milton-Jones got a steal and the first of two attempts from the line. Whalen followed with an 8-0 burst before Milton-Jones hit a 3-pointer, as did Tereza Peckova three and with 4:59 to go before half, ZVVZ USK was up 30-17. By halftime the hosts’ advantage was 43-32. The Czech club continued to pull away in the second half for the eventual victory.
Katerina Elhotova finished as her team’s high scorer with 18 points; Whalen contributed 17 points, seven boards and seven assists; while Milton-Jones had 17 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. Ivanka Matic posted a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds in her team’s loss.
VICI Aistes Kaunas 80, Halcon Avenida 77 (OT)
The struggling VICI Aistes Kaunas (2-5) got a huge lift from its home crowd in handing the mighty Halcon Avenida Salamanca (5-2) its second loss of the season, 80-77, in overtime. The victory was important to VICI, whose playoff hopes are slim, but not gone.
VICI stunned Halcon to start the game and owned a commanding 43-29 lead at the midway break. However, Halcon powered back in the third quarter and trailed by just two points, 53-51, with 10 minutes in regulation. The fourth quarter was a battle throughout and with two minutes to play the game was knotted at 68-all. Over the next minute and a half neither team was able to score until Vita Kuktiene hit a jumper with 27 seconds remaining to lift VICI up 70-68. Following a Halcon timeout, Australia’s Belinda Snell hit a layup with 14 ticks left to even the score. This time it was VICI who called time, but Courtney Pilypaitis’ shot with four seconds left missed its mark, sending the game into overtime.
The lead changed three times and the score was knotted once before Rima Valentiene hit a 3-pointer at 2:48, giving VICI Aistes a lead it would never relinquish, 76-74. The hosts clamped down on defense, allowing Halcon to hit just 1-of-5 from the field in the waning minutes and came away with the huge 80-77 victory.
Kuktiene led five VICI Aistes players in double digits, finishing with 17 points and nine boards, while Spain’s Alba Torrens posted a game-high 21 points in the loss.
Galatasaray Medical Park 85, Spartak Moscow Region 83 (OT)
Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles and Galatasaray Medical Park (3-4) needed a big win and got one they did, edging the four-time Euroleague champion Spartak Moscow Region (4-3) in an 85-83 overtime victory in Turkey.
In a close game throughout, neither team was able to gain much traction on its opponent and by the end of the game, the score stood at 77-77. Augustus and Fowles, who also had a key block of a Lauren Jackson attempt, combined for five of their team’s eight points in overtime as Gala outscored Spartak 8-6.
Fowles shared team-high scoring honors with Doneeka Hodges as they topped out with 20 points apiece. Fowles also had 12 boards and a pair of blocks; while Augustus finished the game with 18 points and six rebounds. On the other end of the court, Jackson was the game’s high scorer with 23 points to go with eight rebounds and four blocks.
Gala is still not assured of a playoff spot and will face two very tough teams in its final three games – Halcon Avenida and ZVVZ USK Prague – in addition to VICI Aistes, which shocked Halcon Avenida this week in overtime and captured its only other victory this season against the giants of Spartak.
Nadezhda 75, Frisco Sika Brno 59
Behind a double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds from Tina Charles, Nadezdha (3-4) made it two in a row with a 75-59 defeat of the struggling Frisco Sika Brno (1-6) in Russia. Three minutes into the second quarter the hosts got a bucket from A. Verameyenka, her only field goal of the game, to put Nadezhda up for good, 22-21. That also sparked an 8-0 run that gave Nadezhda a 28-21 edge with 3:51 to go before halftime.
Charles contributed five points in the final 2:12 before halftime as her squad headed into the break up 38-25.
With the hosts still holding a double-digit lead, 45-33, Charles hit a jumper at 6:31 to spur a 13-4 spurt, during which time she totaled eight points, and with just over 13 minutes to play Nadezhda increased its lead to 58-37. Brno fought back in the fourth quarter, but was never able to fully recover.
Frida Eldebrink was Brno’s scoring leader with 19 points, while Cheryl Ford posted a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Bourges Basket 58, Ros Casares Valencia 55
Bourges Basket (5-2) fought back from a first quarter 11-point deficit and handed the visiting Ros Casares Valencia (5-2) its second loss in a row, 58-55, to draw the teams even among the top three spots in Group D, along with Beretta-Famila Schio (5-2).
Endene Miyem scored a team-high 14 points for Bourges Basket. Rebekkah Brunson, whose potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer was off its mark, topped out with 15 points and eight rebounds and Katie Douglas added 11 points for Ros Casares.
Beretta-Famila Schio 79, KSSSE AZS-PWSZ Gorzow 66
Beretta-Famila Schio (5-2) topped KSSSE AZS-PWSZ Gorzow (2-5) 79-66 and now sits in a three-way tie for first in the group standings. After surging to a 75-53 lead after three quarters of play, Beretta-Famila, which won the battle of the boards 44-33, cruised through the fourth quarter for the eventual victory.
Liron Cohen scored a team-high 19 points to lead the Italian club, while Janel McCarville added nine points. Gorzow, which didn’t play Kalana Greene, was led by 19 points from Australia’s Samantha Richards.