After two days of high-stakes international basketball, the 2020-21 EuroLeague Women Final Four has been determined. All four teams that entered the EuroLeague Women postseason (UMMC Ekaterinburg, Fenerbahçe, Sopron Basket and Perfumerias Avenida) with 6-0 records in group play will advance to the Final Four, which will begin on Friday, April 16.
Due to COVID-19 protocols condensing the 2020-21 EuroLeague Women season, the typical best-of-three quarterfinal series were changed to a best-of-two format in which cumulative point differentials were the deciding factor.
Will @BasketballUmmc make it 3 in a row?#EuroLeagueWomen pic.twitter.com/ZGVr9fQ5L1— EuroLeague Women (@EuroLeagueWomen) March 19, 2021
While the new format did little to stop the inevitability of the stacked UMMC Ekaterinburg, which won its series against Dynamo Kursk by 48 total points, it did create some interesting wrinkles elsewhere. Galatasaray, for instance, was blown out in its first game against rival Fenerbahçe, but fought back late in the second to nearly win the series. Sopron, meanwhile, defeated LDLC ASVEL Féminin by so much in the first game of the series that the second practically didn’t matter.
The Final Four (semifinals) will, in contrast, be decided by just two games: one between Sopron and Avenida and the other between Ekaterinburg and Fenerbahçe. While you wait for the semis, the quarterfinal games have been archived for free on FIBA’s YouTube channel.
Two-game series scores are cumulative
UMMC Ekaterinburg 174, Dynamo Kursk 126 (Ekaterinburg advances)
Game 1: UMMC Ekaterinburg 80, Dynamo Kursk 67
Game 2: UMMC Ekaterinburg 94, Dynamo Kursk 59
Recap: Ekaterinburg looked every bit the superior basketball team right from the start, opening the series with a 35-15 first-quarter advantage over Kursk and coasting the rest of the way. While Allie Quigley missed the first game of the series and Courtney Vandersloot missed both games, Ekaterinburg still had more than enough firepower, with Brittney Griner leading all scorers in the series with 42 points and Maria Vadeeva adding 24. Arike Ogunbowale scored 27 points in the series for Kursk, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the season-long championship favorites prevailed by the widest margin of any team in the quarterfinals.
Fenerbahçe 152, Galatasaray 145 (Fenerbahçe advances)
Game 1: Fenerbahçe 91, Galatasaray 74
Game 2: Galatasaray 71, Fenerbahçe 61
Recap: In a normal EuroLeague Women season, this matchup would have likely been the rowdiest, so it’s fitting that it ended up being the closest. While Fenerbahçe won the first game of the series comfortably, Galatasaray did not give in, taking the second game behind a 21-4 fourth-quarter flurry and the play of Mercedes Russell (35 total points in the series). Fenerbahçe will advance, though it doesn’t look quite as invincible as it did prior to the quarterfinals; the club will need to rediscover a consistent secondary scoring option behind Alina Iagupova (50 total points) if it’s to have any hope of upsetting Ekaterinburg in the Final Four.
Sopron Basket 156, LDLC ASVEL Féminin 141 (Sopron advances)
Game 1: Sopron Basket 94, LDLC ASVEL Féminin 66
Game 2: LDLC ASVEL Féminin 75, Sopron Basket 62
Recap: LDLC ASVEL Féminin was dealt a tough blow before the series even began, losing Alysha Clark to a foot injury, and was unable to recover before the odds became firmly stacked in Sopron’s favor, the Hungarian team winning game one in a blowout behind Gabby Williams (24 points) and Megan Walker (16 points). LDLC ASVEL Féminin fought back to win game two, but with the point differential already massively favoring Sopron, Williams and company outlasted their French opponent, winning the series by 15 points.
Perfumerias Avenida 145, Spar Girona 131 (Avenida advances)
Game 1: Perfumerias Avenida 74, Spar Girona 66
Game 2: Perfumerias Avenida 71, Spar Girona 65
Recap: On paper, this was likely the closest matchup of the quarterfinals, so two games decided by single digits wasn’t a surprising outcome. Neither team got much from their star player as Katie Lou Samuelson (Avenida) and Chelsea Gray (Girona) were both quiet, but Avenida had the depth to overcome this; clutch performances from Tiffany Hayes and Emese Hof in game two ultimately sealed the deal for the favored team. Julia Reisingerová (26 total points in the series) and Frida Eldebrink (25 total points) led the way for Girona.