As we head closer and closer to the end of the regular season, this becomes the final weekend where games are spaced one week apart. The general schedule for the final rounds will be:
Round 22: March 14
Round 23: March 18
Round 24: March 21
Round 25: March 25
Round 26: March 28
I might post about the results from Rounds 23 and Rounds 25, but they will probably be brief updates.
* Four teams will go to the playoffs. The playoffs, if they're anything like last season, are best of three.
* The two teams that finish at the bottom of the league will be relegated. That means that they'll be tossed out of the Liga Femenina, and sent to the Liga Femenina 2, the next lowest league.
There is a "Group A" and a "Group B" in LF2, but I don't understand how the promotion process works. Do the top teams in each group move up or is there some sort of playoff?
* However, teams at the bottom can be saved if teams above them have some sort of trouble (usually financial) that prevents them from taking part in the upper level next season. This happened last season.
So everyone has something to play for. But most likely, for the bulk of the league the season will end on March 28th and the Americans on those teams will be free to head home. There's no guarantee that those players will play for the same teams - or even the same countries - in the following season. Each year, European teams have to look at their budgets very carefully, which makes signing a long-term contract with a European team a very rare thing.
So what happened in Round 22?
Al-Qazeres 79, Gernika 66
Sitting dead last in the Liga Femenina, Al-Qazeres (6-16) needs every win to make sure their stay in the Liga Femenina isn't a short one. They hosted Gernika in the first Round 22 game on Friday, and a big fourth quarter got them the upset win they needed against visiting Gernika (12-10).
Unfortunately, Al-Qazeres point guard Andrea Vilaró hurt her right knee in the game. Vilaró averages 6.9 ppg; Fatou Dieng will have to spell her over the last four games.
Al-Qazeres didn't gain the lead against the visitors until there were three minutes left in the first half, but they kept building it, leading 47-40 as they went into the break. Al-Qazeres was shooting 72 percent; they just had to keep it up. They managed to lead by nine briefly in the third, but the squad cooled down and looked at a fourth quarter down by one, 58-57. The last 10 minutes was a triumph, where they held the visitors to just nine points.
Five players scored in double figures for Al-Qazeres. Marta Tudanca had 13 points on 6-for-6 shooting. Callan Taylor had 13 points/7 rebounds and Fatou Dieng had 17 points. Karla Gilbert had 7 points in 24 minutes of play.
For Gernika, Bernice Mosby led the team with 14 points/8 rebounds. Claudia Pop had 18 points/9 rebounds and Britany Miller had 8 points/5 rebounds/4 assists.
Mann Filter 97, Gran Canaria 46
Mann Filter (6-16) is another team looking for wins, and on Saturday, they delivered a punishing win over visiting team Gran Canaria (7-15). Gran Canaria head coach Domingo Díaz already had two technical fouls before halftime.
This was a game without a history, where Mann Filter won every single quarter. Mann Filter won the first quarter 23-9 and won all of their quarters by at least 10 points. Gran Canaria didn't hit a single 3-point shot (0-for-4) and lost on the offensive boards by an 18-5 margin.
Five players scored in double figures for Mann Filter. Yvonne Turner led all players with 25 points/8 assists. Kristina Viola had 17 points/7 rebounds. Laura Herrera has 14 points/6 rebounds and Jelena Antic had 14 points/8 rebounds.
Samarie Walker led Gran Canaria with 16 points and Robyn Parks had 15 points/6 rebounds (but 6 turnovers). However, no other player on the Gran Canaria team scored more than 4 points.
Trivia: There were 800 in attendance, along with 30 attending for Gran Canaria.
Gipuzkoa UPV 70, Bembibre 65
So was there a win that wasn't an upset on Saturday? Bembibre (12-10) would fall from a barrage of points from visiting Gipuzkoa UPV (9-13) in the fourth quarter as they joined the list of upsets. Gipuzkoa has now won four of its last six games.
At one point, Gipuzkoa UPV was up 29-18, but the home squad fought back to take a 55-49 lead with one quarter to go. Unfortunately for Bembibre, with the game tied at 63-63, Gipuzkoa held Bembibre to just two points for the rest of the game.
Bembibre was led by Dita Liepkalne with 18 points/10 rebounds. Anna Gomez added 12 points/6 asists (but 6 turnovers). Ariel Edwards had 8 points on 4-for-5 shooting in 14 minutes of play.
Lenita Sanford led Gipuzkoa UPV had 20 points on 9-for-10 shooting. Maria Gomez had 15 points/ 6 rebounds in the win and Oumoul Sarr added 10 points/7 rebounds/5 assists (but 6 turnovers).
Perfumerias 78, Zamarat 71
Perfumerias (20-2) managed not only to survive without the services of Shay Murphy (injury), but beat visiting Zamarat (9-13) to ensure at least a one-game hold on first place in the Liga Femenina.
Perfumerias got started with a 10-2 lead to finish the first quarter up 28-10. After that, it was just a manner of hanging on to the lead. Zamarat closed to 45-40 by halftime. It would all be decided in the fourth quarter, where Zamarat's Sandra Pirsic was forced to go to the bench with an attack of dizziness and vomiting. Zamarat needed Pirsig, as they lost the interior battle of offensive rebounding 19-8. (Shooting 35 percent for the game didn't help, either.)
Marta Fernandez led Perfumerias with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Angel Robinson had 17 points/9 rebounds and Marija Rezan added 15 points.
For Zamarat, Daira Mieloszynska-Zwolak had 29 points, scoring 7-for-12 on 3-point shooting. Ella Clark had 11 points and Sofia Gomes da Silva had 11 points/5 rebounds. Caroline Durbin had 5 points in 13 minutes of play.
Zonadostres.com has a webpage where Shay Murphy's fellow players on Perfumieras are sending their best wishes to her:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Ánimo Shay (<a href="https://twitter.com/shaymurphy14">@shaymurphy14</a>): <a href="http://t.co/UkTzbM3XqJ">http://t.co/UkTzbM3XqJ</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/nat_cerda">@nat_cerda</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Ckerr1">@Ckerr1</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/HISdancediva">@HISdancediva</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TichaPenicheiro">@TichaPenicheiro</a> <a href="http://t.co/KsVtnt8y5E">pic.twitter.com/KsVtnt8y5E</a></p>— BasketfemZona23 (@BasketfemZona23) <a href="https://twitter.com/BasketfemZona23/status/576032145493368832">March 12, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Rivas Ecopolis 78, Ferrol 58
Rivas Ecopolis (11-11) has moved up to .500 for the season after a rotten start and a club financial crisis, beating Ferrol (7-15) decisively on the road. Rivas head coach Jose Hernandez says that even though they won't be relegated (and probably, won't go to the playoffs), they still will keep fighting.
It was a nice win for Rivas, which won the first three quarters and tied the final one. Rivas had great shooting, hitting 57 percent of everything they made. They only committed six fouls the entire game and only sent Ferrol to the line five times (Unfortunately, Rivas was 4-for-10 in free throw shooting, or the win would have been greater.
Ferrol was led by DeNesha Stallworth with 18 points/9 rebounds and Haley Peters had 12 points/7 rebounds. Cristina Pedrals had 11 points/5 assists in the loss.
For Rivas, Gabriela Ocete had 23 points. Lyndra Weaver had 12 points/11 rebounds and Lady Comfort had 13 points/7 rebounds. Angela Salvadores - heading to Duke after this season - had 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>“<a href="https://twitter.com/Gabyocete5">@Gabyocete5</a>: <a href="https://twitter.com/L_Littles">@L_Littles</a> thanks for the assits jajajaaj ??????” your welcome!!!!!</p>— Lyndra L. (@L_Littles) <a href="https://twitter.com/L_Littles/status/576897142540886016">March 15, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Cadi La Seu 66, Conquero 60
Fourth-place Cadi La Seu (15-7) came one game closer to clinching that all-important playoff spot, beating third place Conquero (16-6) at home 66-60.
It was Conquero's third straight loss. Cadi La Seu won this on the free throw line: in 16 trips to the free throw line, Cadi La Seu hit 15 shots. Hard to find out anything about this game on line, and it took place on Saturday.
Tania Perez led all players for Cadi La Seu with 16 points. Georgina Bahi had 12 points, and Tyrese Tanner had 5 points on 2-for-3 shooting in 11 minutes of play.
For Conquero, Chelsea Davis led all players with 16 points/6 rebounds and Adaora Elonu had 12 points/8 rebounds/4 assists (but 6 turnovers). Aja Parham had 8 points/5 rebounds (but 5 turnovers).
Girona 71, Campus Promete 63
With Al-Qazeres winning, Campus Promete (5-17) needed a win on Sundayy just to keep up with the worst team in the league. Unfortunately, the loss on the road to Girona (19-3) drops Campus Promete to 14th place, and one game behind Al-Qazeres.
Campus Promete had a nine-point lead at the end of the first quarter, but lost it in the second quarter with both teams tied 37-37 at halftime and 51-51 after three quarters. Girona won it through their 3-point shooting: they were 7-for-19 compared with an 0-for-5 performance from Promete.
Vanessa Gidden had 16 points/10 rebounds and Ify Ibekwe had 8 points/14 rebounds in the win. Noemi Jordana had 12 points/7 rebounds/9 assists.
For Campus Promete, three players had 12 points: Devereaux Peters (7 rebounds), Leslie Knight (7 rebounds) and Adrijana Knezevic (5 assists). Chanel Mokango had 10 points/5 rebounds.
Round 23 (March 18)
*Girona (19-3) @ Gran Canaria (7-15)
* Cadi La Seu (15-7) @ Campus Promete (5-17)
Al-Qazeres (6-16) @ *Conquero (16-6)
*Ferrol (7-15) @ Gernika (12-10)
*Perfumerias (20-2) @ Rivas Ecopolis (11-11)
*Bembibre (12-10) @ Zamarat (9-13)
Mann Filter (6-16) @ *Gipuzkoa UPV (9-13)
* - Winner of Round 10 game