EuroLeague Playoff Picture Becoming Clearer
Jan. 31, 2013
One Final Week of Games Before Playoffs Begin
This week was mostly spent jockying for position in the playoff picture. While most teams have clinched a berth in the playoffs, only four teams have been eliminated. Next week will be musical chairs, with five teams vying for two slots. Who hasn't clinched yet? Sopron (3-9) and Municipal Targoviste (3-8) in Group B. Should Targoviste defeat Good Angels Kosice (9-2), it will advance. However, should the two teams finish with identical records, Sopron advances based on head-to-head games in the season. While it's unlikely Targoviste will pull off the upset, anything can happen. Just look at the Perfumerias Avenida victory over UMMC Ekaterinbur this week for proof of that.
Group C features a three-way tie between USO Modeville (5-6), ZVVZ USK Prague (4-7) and Perfumerias Avenida (4-7). Mondeville will face Prague next week, while Avenida matches up against Novi Zagreb (1-10). If Mondeville wins, it won't matter what happens in the Avenida contest. However, should Prague and Avenida both clinch victories, there will be a three-way tie with each team owning identical 5-7 recoreds. At that point, it gets into FIBA's mathmatical tie-breaking formula and the score of the Mondeville-Prague game will fall into play.
Confused? Don't worry, all the 2012 U.S. Olympians have already clinched playoff berths. There are a few Americans, however, who will be playing for a spot next week, including Plenette Pierson and Allie Quigley from Good Angels Kosice; Shenise Johnson from Sopron; Rebekkah Brunson and Kia Vaughn from ZVVZ USK Prague; and Monique Currie and Le'Coe Willingham from Perfumerias Avenida.
Charles is Back in Charge
A week ago Tina Charles had a rare ‘off’ game. For just the second time in her first eight games, Charles failed to secure a double-double. She got back on the doubles bandwagon this week with a 22-point, 14 rebound performance in leading Wisla Can-Pack (6-5) to a crucial 74-66 victory over Rivas Ecopolis (6-5) at home in Krakow, Poland. While both sides have secured playoff advancement, they’re still jockeying for playoff positions. While both sides have identical records, Wisla captured wins in both meetings this year and edges ahead in the playoff standings. Alana Beard was also instrumental in the win as she scored 16 points after sitting out during last week’s loss.
Wisla will meet Tarsus (3-8) to close out preliminary round play on Feb. 6; while Rivas has the unenviable match-up against Spartak Moscow Region (9-2), which had a bye this week.
EuroLeague Player of the Week
Shenise Johnson, a 2009 USA Basketball U19 World Championship gold medalist, was the latest USA Basketball gold medalist to collect EuroLeague Player of the Week honors. She did so in UE Sopron's tough loss to Fenerbache in Week 11. Johnson hit 11-of-15 from the field and finished with 24 points to go with 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Candace Parker picked up the EuroLeague Week 10 Player of the Week honor last week after scoring 26 points on 10-of-13 from the field, grabbing 14 boards and being credited wtih four assists, two steals and two blocked shots in just 26 minutes against ZVVZ USK Prague. So far this season the weekly honor has gone to USA National Team members Tina Charles (Weeks 3, 5, 6, 7, 8); Candice Dupree (Week 1) and Diana Taurasi (Week 2). The only Europeans to break into the mix were Anna Cruz (Week 9) and Mirna Mazic (Week 4).
(The EuroLeague Week 12 honoree will be announced tomorrow, Jan. 25.)
Despite receiving a game-high 20 points from Diana Taurasi, UMMC Ekaterinburg (10-1) was handed a stunning upset by host Perfumerias Avenida (4-7). The improbable 65-57 victory kept the playoff hopes alive for Avenidas, who just two years ago won the EuroLeague title. A win next week over Novi Zagreb (1-10) will advance the Spanish squad into the playoffs.
Ahead 40-38 at haltime, Avenida added another point to its lead in the third quarter and with 10 minutes to play was up 50-47. Going up by as many as seven points, Ekat cut it back to three points following a pair of Taurasi free throws and a jumper from Russia vet Maria Stepanova and with 4:21 to go Ekat pulled to 57-54. However, poor shooting and turnovers plagued Ekat, while the hosts began to increase the gap and closed out the game with the upset.
Sue Bird shot 2-of-12 from the field and finished with seven points, eight boards and a team-high five assists; while Stepanova posted the game’s only double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Spain’s Marta Xargay was the hero for her hometown crowd, scoring a team-best 14 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out a game-high eight rebounds. Avenida also received 12 points and five assists from recently acquired Monique Currie.
Ogwumike Closes Qualifying Round With Impressive Double-Double
Nnemkadi Ogwumike posted an impressive 24-point, 14-rebound double-double in helping lead CCC Polkowice (6-6) to a 71-60 victory over ZVVZ USK Prague (4-7) to close out the qualifying round of EuroLeague action. She and CCC will have next week off as they await the final standings and playoff pairings.
After falling behind 34-25 at the midway break, CCC clawed back into the game in the third quarter and headed into the final stanza up one, 46-45. The Polish club hit three 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter and at 7:47 was up 55-48 on its Prague hosts. CCC kept ZVVZ USK at bay through the remainder of the quarter and held on for the 71-60 victory. Australia’s Belinda Snell scored a game-high 28 points in the win, while Kia Vaughn and Rebekkah Brunson contributed 17 and 15 points, respectively, for their Czech club.
Angel McCoughtry, Fener Fall to Good Angels
In a game to determine the top spot in Group B, Angel McCoughtry scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards, but it wasn’t enough as Fenerbache (8-3) dropped its third contest of the season, 66-63, to Good Angels Kosice (9-2). In a game that was close throughout, McCoughtry dished to Esmeral Tuncluer for a 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining to pull within a point, 64-63. However, nine seconds later Good Angels’ Natasha Lacy stepped to the line and netted both tries for the game’s final points. Fener missed a pair of 3-point attempts, including one from Cappie Pondexter, in the waning seconds, ran out of time and returned to Istanbul with the loss. Pondexter finished with six points on 3-of-11 shooting. In a balanced effort, Good Angels had seven players score between seven and 12 points each, including 10 from Plenette Pierson and seven from Allie Quigley.
In Other Games …
In the battle of the basement in Group A, Tarsus (3-8) picked up an 81-72 victory at home versus BK Imos Brno (2-9). With both teams out of the playoff race, the game was played for pride. Tarsus was led to victory by Danielle Robinson and DeLisha Milton-Jones, who scored 25 and 17 points, respectively. On the losing end, Nicole Ohlde finished with 22 points and seven rebounds … Despite a game-high 25 points from Jelena Milovanovic and a 21-point, eight-rebound performance from Shenise Johnson, UE Sopron (3-9) closed out its 2012-13 EuroLeague schedule with a 74-68 defeat at the hands of visiting Nazdezhda (7-4). Zane Tamane led the visiting Russians with 16 points, while Renee Montgomery added 13 and DeWonna Bonner pitched in eight points … The fifth and final spot out of Group B is still up for grabs after Arras (2-9) nailed a three with eight seconds to play and pulled out a 67-66 victory at home over Municipal Targoviste (3-8) … USO Mondeville (5-6) thought a victory over Novi Zagreb (1-10) would be enough to get into the playoffs. Despite the 79-74 victory, however, after Avenidas upset UMMC Ekaterinburg, Mondeville will now have to wait until next week to hopefully clinch a spot in the playoffs … 2012 Olympic silver medalist Celine Dumerc posted a 13-point, 10-assist double-double to help propel Bourges Basket (8-3) to a 65-59 victory over Uni Gyor (5-7) in Hungary.
2012-13 EuroLeague Standings: Week 12
|1.||SPARTA&K MOSCOW REGION - VIDNOJE||11||9/2||902/738||20|
|4.||WISLA CAN-PACK KRAKOW||11||6/5||748/753||17|
|5.||HAT-AGRO UNI GYÖR||12||5/7||801/890||17|
|6.||TARSUS BELEDIYE SPOR||11||3/8||791/822||14|
|7.||BK IMOS BRNO||11||2/9||705/821||13|
|1.||GOOD ANGELS KOSICE||11||9/2||855/768||20|
|2.||FENERBAHCE SPOR KULÜBÜ||11||8/3||864/745||19|
|5.||UNIQA EUROLEASING SOPRON||12||3/9||827/862||15|
|7.||ARRAS PAYS D'ARTOIS||11||2/9||679/796||13|
|4.||USO MONDEVILLE BASKET||11||5/6||706/797||16|
|5.||ZVVZ USK PRAGUE||11||4/7||746/788||15|
|6.||PERFUMERIAS AVENIDA SALAMANCA||11||4/7||734/778||15|