December 24, 2022 

EuroLeague Week 7: Girona wins Spanish Clasico by blasting Avenida

The EuroLeague enters the Christmas break with Olympiacos winless and Polkowice leading the way

The Spanish league offered basketball fans a fantastic clash between Girona and Avenida on Dec. 11. Less than two weeks later, the EuroLeague schedule-makers gave Avenida the chance to avenge its loss. But, sadly for those calling Salamanca home, the revenge was never close to materializing last Wednesday.

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Girona (4-3) ran Avenida (5-2) out of the gym, winning 74-48. The first quarter was relatively close, with Girona finishing just four points ahead, but Girona led by 14 at halftime and even more in the second half.

Girona did everything perfectly. It outrebounded Avenida 42 to 27, had 15 fastbreak points to Avenida’s zero, and scored 46 points in the paint. Maria Araujo (15 points, nine boards) and Rebekah Gardner (19 points, four rebounds) both notched at least one of each statistic and had efficiency marks of 21 and 20, respectively.

No Avenida player scored in double digits, with four of them topping at seven points, or finished the game with a positive plus/minus. Kudos to Silvia Dominguez (who turned the ball over five times, mind you) for a packed line of seven points, six dimes, three rebounds and three steals.

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Polkowice joins Fenerbahçe and Praha as favorites in Group A

We discussed Polkowice’s positive results last week, and we can now put the team in the running for the No. 1 seed in Group A after it finished the first half of the season with another victory and a 6-1 record entering the break. The Polish side defeated KSC 89-56 and leads the group. KSC, on the other hand, dropped below .500 with a 3-4 record.

It was a day to forget for KSC with only two players hitting double-digit points (Agnes Studer with 11 and Victoria Vivians with 16) and five with a plus/minus of minus-20 or worse. Melinda Miklos had seven steals and Ruthy Hebard blocked three shots, but those were the brightest spots from the Hungarian side on Wednesday.

As incredible as it sounds, two players on Polkowice’s side dished out 12 (Weronika Gajda) and 13 (Erica Wheeler) dimes. Stephanie Mavunga put up a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double to go with four blocks, and Zala Friskovec had 16 points, six rebounds and a team-high efficiency of 24.

Fenerbahçe (5-2) won its fifth game in a row, routing Tango Bourges (3-4) 83-64 in Istanbul. Fenerbahçe has not lost a game since starting the season 0-2, and it still awaits the arrival of Breanna Stewart, who is expected in Turkey by January.

The Turkish team went on a 15-0 run and built a 24-point lead midway through the game. Saying that Bourges was overwhelmed would understate how dominant Fenerbahçe was last Wednesday. Five players on the Turkish squad scored at least 11 points, and Kiah Stokes provided her usual dominance on the glass with 12 rebounds. Natasha Howard, Emma Meesseman and Alina Iagupova each stole at least three possessions while scoring 13 or more points.

Bourges also had three players with three steals each and was led by Yvonne Anderson‘s 20 points. That said, Anderson turned the ball over a game-high eight times.

Praha’s Alyssa Thomas (18 points, 14 rebounds) and Brionna Jones (22 points, 16 rebounds) double-doubled their way toward another victory. Teammate Teja Oblak scored 11 points and fell just one rebound and one assist short of a triple-double. After the 85-62 win against Virtus Bologna (2-5), Praha sits third in Group A, only trailing Polkowice and tied with Fenerbahçe with five wins.

Even in defeat, Cheyenne Parker‘s double-double of 13 points and 12 boards (with four assists and three blocks) was impressive. No other player for Bologna put up an efficiency mark above 11, and Cecilia Zandalasini was the only other player scoring in double figures.

Sopron win creates three-way tie atop Group B

The Hungarian side Sopron had a two-game losing streak a few weeks ago, but it seems to be over that now, entering the break on a two-game winning streak after defeating Famila Schio 80-61 on Tuesday. Schio, Sopron and Avenida are now locked into a three-way tie at the top of Group B with identical 5-2 records through the first half of the season.

Even though the final score might tell a different story, Sopron sweated out this victory, as Schio kept it tight until a 25-10 fourth quarter sealed the deal for Sopron. Astou Ndour-Fall (13 points, four boards, two blocks) and Rhyne Howard (10 points, six rebounds) did everything they could to stop Sopron, but it wasn’t enough.

Sopron enjoyed a great outing from Jelena Brooks (24 points) and also had two more players score in double figures (Zsofia Fegyverneky and Alice Kunek). Ezi Magbegor pulled down 10 boards. Dragana Stankovic was the most efficient player on the Hungarian side, though, putting up nine points, eight boards, four steals, three assists and three blocks in just 18 minutes.

Basket Landes loses again

Fellow Hungarian team DVTK (3-4) joined Sopron in victory by handing French foe Basket Landes (1-6) its second straight loss, 67-58. Landes now trails Group B in the point-differential leaderboard at minus-71, behind DVTK’s minus-63.

Cheridene Green was the main reason for DVTK’s win on Wednesday, scoring 20 points to go with 13 rebounds and three steals. Arella Guirantes and Reka Bernath both contributed 13 points for DVTK, with the former getting back to her usual ways and adding eight boards and five dimes.

For Landes, Regan Magarity was so close to a double-double (13 points and nine rebounds) and Kristen Mann scored 14 points, but no other player put up more than eight. Laura Gil added eight points and four steals in 22 minutes.

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Olympiacos completes winless first half

We have become accustomed to it through the past two months: Kylee Shook scores a bunch of points, Megan Gustafson has a double-double, and Olympiacos loses. It happened again on Tuesday when the Greek side lost its seventh game in a row, 65-59 to Valencia (4-3).

Olympiacos stayed in the game until Valencia broke a 59-59 tie with 2:58 left and held Olympiacos scoreless through the remainder of the match. This was a close game on all fronts, though, with the main difference being the points scored off turnovers. Valencia clearly edged Olympiacos there, 18-6, and that was key for them to earn the win.

Raquel Carrera (15), Leticia Romero (10) and Marie Gulich (10) all scored in double figures for the Spanish side while Gustafson (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Shook (21 points, six boards) did the same for Olympiacos. Carrera and Romero stole four and three possessions, respectively, for Valencia while Shook and Angeliki Nikolopoulou turned the ball over four times each for Olympiacos … combining to match teammate Aina Ayuso‘s eight turnovers.

Kangoeroes can’t handle Cukurova

With Jonquel Jones out for personal reasons, there was at least a tiny chance of Belgian side Kangoeroes Mechelen defeating CBK Mersin. But Chelsea Gray (along with a large cadre of players with WNBA experience) decided that was not going to happen, leading Cukurova to an 84-69 victory.

Although just four points separated the teams with around three minutes left in the third quarter, things went south for Kangoeroes from that point on. CBK built a massive gap that reached 24 points with a little over seven minutes left.

Gray played 37 minutes and made the most of them, putting up a 28-point masterpiece in which she also pulled down five rebounds and dished out six dimes without committing a turnover. DeWanna Bonner and Tiffany Hayes scored 17 and 16 points, respectively. Those three combined for 61 points, just eight shy of Kangoeroes’ total.

Veteran center Ziomara Morrison scored 20 points for Kangoeroes while also grabbing six boards and assisting on five buckets. Morgan Bertsch scored 13 points, and Amalia Rembiszewska and Heleen Nauwelaers contributed nine points each. Laure Resimont led the team on the glass with eight rebounds.

The EuroLeague stops play through Christmas and the New Year festivities. The competition will return with six games on Jan. 4 and two on Jan. 5 as part of the Week 8 slate.

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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