February 25, 2023 

EuroLeague Week 13: Bourges in; Sopron, Avenida and Girona to play for final two postseason berths

And Courtney Vandersloot debuts for Fenerbahçe

The EuroLeague opened Week 13 with the most important matchup of the week: Polkowice facing Tango Bourges in a win-and-in scenario. Bourges got the better of the Polish side on Wednesday and punched its postseason ticket with a 75-66 victory built over the first three quarters.

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Bourges hit the floor running and reached halftime up 10 points. It then outscored Polkowice by nine in the third quarter to put the game out of reach, even after Polkowice closed the game with a 19-9 stanza.

Bourges had a solid collective effort with five players scoring between 11 and 14 points. Elodie Godin grabbed a team-high nine rebounds to go with a game-high eight assists and three blocks. Anete Steinberga and Yvonne Anderson scored 14 points each, while Laetitia Guapo had six steals.

On the other end of the court, Polkowice was once more without superstar Stephanie Mavunga, so it relied on Zala Friskovec’s 20 points and Erica Wheeler‘s 14. The problem was that Wheeler and Artemis Spanou combined to commit 14 turnovers (seven each), while Friskovec (22) and Weronika Telenga (20) were the only two Polkowice players with efficiency marks north of seven.

Polkowice’s defeat contrasts with its marvelous 6-1 start to the EuroLeague season, including upsetting group leaders Fenerbahçe in the first week of the campaign.

Avenida wins, Girona loses; will face each other in decisive Week 14

After reaching the end of regulation tied at 67, CBK edged Girona 75-73 in overtime thanks to a blocked shot by DeWanna Bonner as time expired.

The loss dropped Girona to 7-6 in Group B, with everything to be decided next week in a Spanish Classic between the Catalan team and Avenida. Girona did (almost) everything right on Wednesday but couldn’t complete a comeback, with Brittney Sykes missing a potential game-winner in regulation.

Rebekah Gardner scored 24 points for Girona and Sykes had 17. For CBK, Chelsea Gray scored 18 points on a game-high 17 shots, and the team fielded five players who scored 10 or more points to Girona’s three.

Bonner had the game’s lone double-double (12 points and 10 rebounds) while Maria Araujo fell one rebound short for Girona.

Fellow Spanish team Avenida didn’t have much trouble handling Hungarian side DVTK, winning 70-61 away from home to enter the last week of play in a very favorable position. DVTK’s loss on Wednesday eliminated it from postseason contention, though it was already facing a nearly impossible task to qualify.

Avenida won every period on Wednesday except for the last one, though the Spanish team was already leading by 11 after three quarters. DVTK dominated the boards, with 42 rebounds to Avenida’s 32, but lost all other statistical battles.

Nobody in this game had a really impressive performance, it must be said, with only one player from either side scoring more than 15 points and getting more than six rebounds (Reka Bernath with 16 and eight for DVTK). Bridget Carleton shot 5-for-11 on 3-pointers.

Avenida (8-5) now leads Girona (7-6) by a game in the standings. Nothing really changed in terms of these two fighting for a place in the EuroLeague postseason. As long as Avenida defeated DVTK, it would all come down to a final-day win-and-in matchup with Girona.

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Fenerbahçe wins 11th straight game; Praha deals Olympiacos 12th loss

Fenerbahçe just doesn’t know how to lose a game any more, does it? We fell for the Turkish team’s 0-2 start to the EuroLeague season, but it was all a mirage, as Fenerbahçe has won out since then.

Fenerbahçe hammered Valencia (which had already qualified for the EuroLeague postseason) and defeated the newcomers 93-61 in a game without much drama. The hosts went up 21-8 after the first 10 minutes, reached halftime up 43-21, and coasted from there.

As if the Turkish side needed any help, Courtney Vandersloot made her debut with Fenerbahçe and had 11 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and four steals. Teammate Satou Sabally led everybody in scoring with 20 points while Breanna Stewart (19), Kayla McBride (15) and Emma Meesseman (12) all hit double figures.

Valencia only kept two players on the floor for more than 25 minutes. Angela Salvadores had 19 points, but none of her teammates scored more than eight. Cristina Ouvina put up a nice eight-point, eight-rebound outing in what was the best overall performance from a Valencia player.

Megan Gustafson (14 points, eight rebounds) failed to deliver her usual double-double for Olympiacos, and the Greek team fell to Praha 54-85 on its home court at Pireas. Olympiacos didn’t have anything going its way on Wednesday: Gustafson (16) was the only player with an efficiency figure above seven and Anna Stamolamprou (14) was the only other Olympiacos player to score more than seven points.

Praha saw Alyssa Thomas (17 points), Brionna Jones (19) and Valeriane Vukosavljevic (15) all earned efficiency marks of 21 or higher. Thomas and Vukosavljevic pulled down eight rebounds each, while Jones grabbed five boards and dished out four dimes to go with two steals.

The visitors got a wire-to-wire victory and led for all but 17 seconds. The Czech team was an absolute menace on the boards, grabbing 43 rebounds to Olympiacos’ 26, and scored 46 points in the paint to its counterpart’s 24.

Sopron fails to earn postseason ticket

Sopron had a chance to seal its presence in the EuroLeague postseason with a win over second-to-last-place Basket Landes on Thursday, but it failed, losing 62-59 and complicating its last game of the regular season. Its rival next week, Famila Schio, edged Kangoeroes Mechelen 74-73.

The Hungarian club and reigning champion Sopron led by 12 points by the final minutes of the third quarter but surrendered part of that lead and then lost the fourth quarter 7-15. It was Landes’ third win of the season and its first in the past four games.

The French side had lost by 11 points to Sopron back in Week 6 when it failed to reach double-digit assists as a team for the lone time in a single game this year. That wasn’t the case this time, though, with Landes beating Sopron in nearly all statistical categories. Regan Magarity led Landes on both offense (16 points, four assists) and defense (nine rebounds, four steals, one block). Celine Dumerc contributed 14 points and seven dimes, while teammates Laura Gil and Marine Fauthoux combined for 18 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Barring an efficient outing by Dragana Stankovic (nine points, three assists, three rebounds, one block and one steal in just 19 minutes), Sopron never really found a proper rhythm and collapsed in the final quarter. The loss means that Sopron may need to beat Famila Schio next week to make the EuroLeague postseason, if Girona defeats Avenida. (If Avenida defeats Girona, Sopron will qualify regardless.)

Speaking of Famila Schio, its victory over Mechelen didn’t mean much because it had already qualified for the EuroLeague postseason based on other Week 13 results. But Schio kept its efforts up until the very last second to pull off the one-point victory.

Kangoeroes nearly recovered from a 17-point deficit with an impressive run late in the fourth period that saw the scoreboard go from 56-70 with 5:55 remaining to 73-74 with 58 seconds left. Nothing happened in that final minute to change the scoreboard, though, so Famila Schio celebrated its postseason-clinching evening with a victory.

Marina Mabrey was fantastic with 19 points and eight rebounds, while teammates Jasmine Keys and Rhyne Howard also scored in double figures. Astou Ndour-Fall and Martina Bestagno combined for 17 points, nine boards and four dimes.

Morgan Bertsch was absolutely unstoppable for Kangoeroes, scoring 26 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the floor (58.8%), including two 3-pointers. Ziomara Morrison had a 15-point, 11-rebound, three-block double-double for an efficiency of 20, which was only bested by Bertsch’s 25.

EuroLeague newcomer Virtus Bologna defeated KSC by 30 points, earning a 89-59 victory and clinching sixth place in Group A no matter what happens in the final week of play. KSC’s defeat, paired with Olympiacos’ loss, also guaranteed that those two sides will finish in seventh and last position in their group.

Iliana Rupert logged a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds for Virtus, though she committed five turnovers in 31 minutes. Even then, she led the team with an efficiency mark of 22. Kitija Laksa scored 22 points, and Francesca Pasa (11) and Cecilia Zandalasini (10) also ended up in double figures. Cheyenne Parker, Beatrice Barberis and Alessandra Orsili all scored eight or nine points each.

KSC only featured a couple of double-digit scorers. Cyesha Goree had 17 to go with four steals, and Sara Krnjic was very efficient on a low-volume shooting performance, with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting. No other KSC player scored more than Agnes Studer’s eight points. Studer also had four rebounds, eight assists and one steal against four turnovers.

Written by Antonio Losada

International freelance writer covering the WNBA overseas. Bylines at places, touching different bases. Always open to discussion over @chapulana || Full portfolio

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