This week is one of the most important in women’s basketball. It’s European Championship Week. Tomorrow, we’ll see who wins the EuroCup Women title between Turkish KBSL power Galatasaray and Italian Serie A1 power Reyer Venezia. It’s the second game of a two-leg series, so let’s see what’s in store for both squads.
Date and Time: Wednesday, April 18 at 2 p.m. ET in Venice, Italy
Streaming: YouTube via FIBA’s YouTube channel. Or you can just click here.
Who are the WNBA players and/or other notable players on each team?
Galatasaray has Sky guard Allie Quigley who’s their leading scorer in the EuroCup. The team also has long-time Turkish point guard Isil Alben, who’s one of the top point guards in the world outside of the USA. Lithuanian post Gintarė Petronytė is their post presence.
Venezia has Sparks guard Riquna Williams where she’s averaging at least 12 points a game in all competitions, domestic and continental and is their leading scorer. They also have Mercury forward Camille Little and former WNBA player Ashley Walker.
Who won the first game?
Galatasaray won 90-68 at home in Istanbul last Wednesday. If they win this year, it will be their second EuroCup Women title. This is Venezia’s best ever finish in EuroCup Women.
For Galatasaray, Quigley scored 37 points in an absolutely spectacular performance:
Alben had an excellent game passing the ball for 12 assists for Galatasaray.
Williams hit her scoring mojo once again with a 21 point outburst for Reyer Venezia.
Why are there only two legs in a round in EuroCup Women? What if Venezia wins tomorrow?
The aggregate score of the two games is used. So Venezia has to win the game by 23 points. Therefore, we may be seeing a situation where Galatasaray may relax and play a very slow paced game. Meanwhile Venezia will have to try desperately to rout Galatasaray.
Does the EuroCup Women winner get a berth to next year’s EuroLeague Women?
No, unless the team qualifies in its domestic league. Though EuroCup Women is sort of like the UEFA Europa League in men’s soccer it’s still comparing apples to oranges. For example, the UEFA Europa League champion gets a group stage berth to next season’s UEFA Champions League, even if it didn’t qualify domestically. The EuroCup Women Champion just wins the trophy and nothing more.
If Galatasaray wins — and they should — they probably aren’t going to EuroLeague Women since they finished 8th place in the KBSL before their playoffs. Galatasaray actually started in EuroLeague Women this season but were relegated to the EuroCup quarterfinals. That sai
They are also eighth place in the KBSL, which I mentioned earlier as one of the most even leagues within FIBA Europe. No one country can have more than three teams in EuroLeague Women. EuroCup has allowed up to five teams from one country, so really, Galatasaray is just sneaking by. Even though a EuroCup Women title somewhat salvages a poor 2017-18 season for Galatasaray overall, if they
Venezia is comfortably in second place of the Serie A1 in Italy so they’ll be in European competition again next season.
Remember, it doesn’t matter if Reyer Venezia beats Galatasaray. They have to beat Galatasaray by 23 to win EuroCup Women. FIBA’s Paul Nilsen wrote why Venezia can still pull off the upset, but Galatasaray is the more powerful club. Barring being asleep at the wheel, they’ll be able to grab a continental trophy before the playoffs next week when they play against Yakin Dogu, the winners of the KBSL’s regular season.