The second games of the EuroLeague Women quarterfinals series were played on Friday, with USK Praha, UMMC Ekaterinburg, Dynamo Kursk and Sopron Basket completing two-game sweeps to clinch spots in the EuroLeague Women Final Four.
Here’s what happened:
USK Praha uses strong start to beat Fenerbahçe, 77-65
USK Praha had a strong start and led 27-12 after the first quarter, not letting up in their 77-65 win over Turkish team Fenerbahçe.
For USK Praha, French forward Valeriane Ayayi scored 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting to lead the way. Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas added 13 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists in a trademark near-triple-double performance for the victors.
Watch Ayayi’s highlights below:
Emma Meesseman scores 27 to lead UMMC Ekaterinburg to 77-55 win over TTT Riga
Washington Mystics forward Emma Meesseman score a EuroLeague Women career-high 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting to lead UMMC Ekaterinburg to a dominant 77-55 win over Riga. Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner added 19 points in a game where UMMC never trailed.
Though this game was a blowout, UMMC didn’t shoot the ball particularly well outside of Meesseman, only making 40 percent of their shots. It was really UMMC’s defense that made the difference. Riga shot 28.1 percent from the field and just 22.9 percent from two-point range.
For TTT Riga, Gunta Basko scored 13 points.
Dynamo Kursk beats CCC Polkowice 81-77 behind Breanna Stewart’s 28 points
CCC Polkowice raced to a quick 18-8 lead after the first quarter, but from there it was all Dynamo Kursk as they ultimately got a close 81-77 win.
Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart scored 28 points and grabbed 8 rebounds for Dynamo Kursk while fellow Storm forward Natasha Howard scored 17 points. For CCC Polkowice, Sun guard Jasmine Thomas scored 24 points while Atlanta Dream guard Tiffany Hayes added 19 points.
Watch Stewie’s highlights below:
Sopron Basket slowly and methodically defeats Bourges Basket, 74-64
A ten-point victory isn’t a blowout. And in many cases, both teams could have exchanged leads along the way. But Sopron defeated Bourges Basket 74-64 by leading for nearly 29 minutes, outscoring their French opponents in each quarter.
The three main statistical areas where Sopron won were on the glass (42 to 34), points in the paint (46 to 34) and bench points (23 to 12). These things do not affect a game that much in any single quarter. But if these trends are consistent over the course of a game, one team will pull out a solid victory, even if it isn’t a 20-point blowout.
The EuroLeague Women Final Four is a single-elimination tournament. The semifinals will be on April 12, and the medal rounds on April 14. Which of the four teams will host the Final Four will be determined later in March.