October 28, 2022 

The Morning Post-Up, Vol. 7 — EuroLeague Tip-off and Team USA AmeriCup 3×3 roster revealed!

Alyssa Thomas notches triple-double and other shining stars as overseas play heats up

Happy Friday! Welcome to The Morning Post-Up, a twice-weekly newsletter from The Next. Today’s edition features the opening of EuroLeague and EuroCup, as well as the ongoing Melanesian Cup in Fiji.

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Before we head there, however, the Team USA AmeriCup rosters were announced Wednesday morning. Veronica Burton and Lexie Hull will reprise their roles from the U23 World Cup earlier this month, but this time they’ll be joined by NaLyssa Smith and Camille Zimmerman. The group will compete in Pool A with Guyana and Colombia, where the top two teams will advance to the knockout round. Team Canada (my most anticipated match-up for the U.S.) is in Pool B, so the earliest we could see the two teams face-off will be the semi-final round.

This will be Smith’s first major 3×3 competition, and her first appearance with Team USA since her time on the U18 national team. How she adjusts to the pace, difference in ball weight, and spacing of the court will be critical, as she primarily replaces the role of Emily Engstler, who is more experienced with 3×3. As for Zimmerman, she is an active member of Force 10 3×3, the first group of commercial pro 3×3 teams in the U.S. Zimmerman has been competed in several of the Red Bull 3x regional tournaments, as well as stops on the 2021 and 2022 FIBA Women’s Series. This will be her second event with Team USA 3×3, and she will bring plenty of much-needed experience to the team, which remains fairly new to the sport.

The team will defend the 2021 AmeriCup gold medal at East Flaza in Miami from November 3–6. The event will be available to stream on the FIBA 3×3 YouTube channel.

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EuroLeague: Alyssa Thomas notches triple-double, Gardner wills Girona to scrappy first win

Week one of the EuroLeague season left nothing on the table, from narrow wins to massive statlines, we saw it all. Here are some highlights from the first day of the regular season:

USK Praha beats KSC Szekszard, 82–71 — The teams traded baskets through the middle of the third quarter, when USK went on a 12–0 run to take the lead. Alyssa Thomas in transition continues to be a problem for defenses, while her teammates made quick work of the three-point line. For KSC, Victoria Vivians put together a dominant performance as she logged 27 points (7–13 2pt., 3–9 3pt.) and eight rebounds. Ruthy Hebard added on 20 points (8–12 2pt.) and eight rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to take over the USK lead. Alyssa Thomas logged a 15 point (6–15 2pt.), 15 rebound, 10 assist triple-double, along with five steals and five turnovers. Teja Oblak put up 28 points, six rebounds and four assists to seal the win for USK.

Spar Girona beats Basket Landes, 58–53 — It was back and forth through the first quarter, but timely three-pointers and lock-down defense pushed Girona ahead to a seven-point lead by the mid second quarter. Despite keeping Girona to just 58 points, Landes faced similar difficulties on the offensive end and wasn’t able to overcome the difference. Despite a packed house on Landes home court, Girona managed to keep their lead alive and came away with their first win of the regular season. Binta Drammeh led Girona with 15 points (2–3 2pt., 3–7 3pt.) while Rebekah Gardner held it down on both ends of the floor logging 11 points (4–10 2pt., 1–2 3pt.), eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. For Landes, Evelyn Akhator posted 15 points (5–7 2pt., 1–1 3pt.), eight rebounds and four steals and Marine Fauthoux notched eight points (3–10 2pt.), three rebounds and seven assists.

EuroCup: Sparkle Taylor notches 27 in loss to Arka Gdynia, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough shines in Maccabi debut

Bydgoszcz's Sparkle Taylor (12) shoots over Arka Gdynia's <a rel=
Sparkle Taylor (12) went off for 27 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and two steals in Bydgoszcz’s 86–78 loss to Arka Gdynia. (Photo courtesy of FIBA)

If it was possible for EuroCup to match the dramatics of EuroLeague, it certainly came through on opening day. Here are some highlights from the first day of the regular season:

VBW Arka Gdynia beats Polskie Przetwory Bydgoszcz, 86–78 — The teams kept it close until the mid-third quarter, when Polskie took a slight lead. It wouldn’t last long, however, as Gdynia battled back to tie the game by the end of the fourth quarter, sending the game to overtime. Gdynia quickly took over in the final five minutes, as Polskie seemed to run out of steam. Haley Gorecki posted 22 points (5–10 2pt, 9–10 FT), four rebounds and five assists in the win while Tetiana Yurkevichus had eight points, 12 rebounds and four assisists. For Polskie, Sparkle Taylor put up a massive double-double of 27 points (8–18 2pt, 2–2 3pt, 5–5 FT) and 11 rebounds along with five assists and two steals. Steph Kostowicz chipped in 16 points (7–11 2pt.), nine rebounds and two assists on five turnovers.

Uni Gyor beats Maccabi Bnot Ashdod, 73–72 — It was a nail-biting thriller from start to end, neither team grabbing a comfortable lead until the early third quarter, when Gyor went on a 9–0 run to take the lead. Maccabi played catch-up, however, and took over the lead in the late fourth, but lost hold of it in the final minute as Gyor soared back into the lead. Aayrn Ellenberg-Wiley led Gyor with 21 points (3–12 2pt., 5–15 3pt.), four rebounds and eight assists. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough played the full forty minutes for Maccabi, and put up 29 points (6–13 2pt., 2–3 3pt., 11–12 FT), seven rebounds and six assists to match.

Melanesian Cup: Fiji take top spot after qualifying round, Final versus Papua New Guinea set for Oct. 29

Enola An Ah Tchung (5) jumps for a layup as Jennifer Canteloup (13) defends.
Enola An Ah Tchung (5) led all scorers with 20 points in New Caledonia’s thriller 66–67 loss to Papua New Guinea. (Photo courtesy of FIBA)

The Melanesian Cup is coming to a close, as the Final and 3rd place games are set for Saturday. The most thrilling match game on Thursday, when New Caledonia (NC) and Papua New Guinea (PNG) faced off for a match that was back and forth until the very end. By the late third quarter, it seemed as it PNG had run away with it as they came from behind to take the lead on a 13–1 run. Not to be out-done, however, NC came back from a double-digit deficit to tie the game with five minutes left to play. A combination of offensive heroics from Enola An Ah Tchung and a swarming defense that forced several PNG turnovers made it anyone’s game. In the end, it was solid free throw shooting from PNG’s Jonitha Warabe and Marca Muri that pulled through the win for PNG.

Muri led PNG with 16 points (5–8 2pt), five rebounds and four assists, while Tchung and Roselyne Forest combined for 39 points for NC. Defending champs PNG improved to second overall, and will face Fiji in the Final, while NC will face Solomon Islands in the third-place match.

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Next up tournaments to keep your eye on

  • Melanesian Cup Final, Suva, Fiji, Oct. 29, 8 p.m. ET. Papua New Guinea will face Fiji in the Final to close the tournament. At this stage, both teams have qualified for The Pacific Games, where they can compete for a spot in the Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers. Available to watch at the FIBA YouTube channel.
  • Polynesian Cup, PunaOra Stadium, Kaitaia, New Zealand, Nov. 1–5. Cook Islands, American Samoa, Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga will participate. Cook Islands are the reigning champs after they won the Cup in 2018, while Tonga are competing for the first time in the nation’s history. Similarly to the Melanesian Cup, the top two teams will qualify for the Pacific Games. Available to watch at the FIBA YouTube channel.
  • WNBL Season Opener, Australia, Nov. 2. The WNBL will kick off its season when the 2021–22 champion Melbourne Boomers visit the Perth Lynx. Tiffany Mitchell returns to the Boomers, which also feature Kristy Wallace and Cayla George, while Sami Whitcomb and Amy Atwell headline the Lynx roster. The game is available to watch at the FIBA YouTube channel or on ESPN in Australia.

Next, read…

  • Even more NCAA previews to get you ready for the upcoming 2022–23 season
    • Gabriella Lewis was on the floor at SEC media day and previews the goings on of the highly competitive conference.
    • Tee Baker takes you through the BIG EAST, from key storylines to pre-season predictions.
    • Todd Goclowski provides everything you could ever want to know about the Patriot League.
  • Our Jackie Powell caught up with Layshia Clarendon, who will join Athletes Unlimited for its second season which was announced Tuesday.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Ann Killion digs into everything Pac-12 coaches had to say about the oncoming departure of UCLA and USC.

Written by Isabel Rodrigues

Isabel Rodrigues (she/her) is a contributing editor for The Next from upstate New York. She occasionally covers 3x3 and labor in women's basketball.

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