Before a three-week hiatus, EuroLeague teams showed us just what makes this competition so special. After such games, the break is well deserved.
What separates good teams from great ones often is the bench. Such is the case with Fenerbahçe. The defending champs scored 85 points on Lublin and beat them by 35, despite shooting just 42 percent from the floor. Apart from the starters, credit needs to be given to Nikolina Milić and Tilbe Şenyürek. Milic is 6-foot-2 and Senyurek is 6-foot-4. Both are almost 30 years old and, as veterans, are reliable whenever Emma Meesseman or Natasha Howard either are absent or in need of rest. In the game against the Polish champions, Şenyürek tied the team high with 14 points (including two 3s), while Milić was not far behind with 12 points. She also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists. On the whole, the Turkish powerhouse outrebounded Lublin 51-36. The Polish team was visibly hurt by the absence of Channon Fluker. The center asked to be released from her contract prior to the game and, despite the club’s efforts to have her to play on Tuesday, her wish was granted.
The only other unbeaten team in the competition, DVTK HUN-Therm, won in a similarly dominant fashion against the winless ACS Sepsi SIC. It was a great team effort; the highlight of which was the performance of Nina Aho. The Budapest-born Hungarian point guard made all four of her 3-pointers on her way to her best game so far this season: 16 points, five assists and three steals. DVTK and Fenerbahçe will meet for the first time on November 29. So there’s a chance that both teams will remain undefeated for another month.
It’s also worth mentioning that the game between Beretta Famila Schio and LDLC turned into a shooting exhibition for the former, with Arella Guirantes and Robyn Parks scoring 20 points each. Interestingly, both made three 3s and converted over 60 percent of their attempts as their team got an easy victory.
Group A Scores:
Casademont Zaragoza (Spain) 59, Valencia Basket (Spain) 47
DVTK HUN-Therm (Hungary) 80, ACS Sepsi SIC (Romania) 68
Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding (Turkey) 85, AZS UMCS Lublin (Poland) 50
Beretta Famila Schio (Italy) 84, LDLC ASVEL Féminin (France) 58
The best game of Gameday 5 was between Polkowice and Győr. The teams went blow for blow during the regulation, with the Poles entering the fourth quarter with a three-point lead. However, with 20 seconds left in the game, it was the Hungarians who had a three-point lead. Polkowice had the ball and it eventually found Slovenian guard Zala Friškovec, who came off a screen from underneath the basket and shot a 3, releasing the ball before falling to the floor. It was her tenth long-distance attempt in the game and fourth make. She attempted one more 3 in overtime, but missed. Her shooting was not necessary for Polkowice to pull out the overtime win. After both teams entered the additional period with the score tied at 75, Brittney Sykes and Brianna Fraser guided Polkowice to a 92-82 win.
In another close game, Praha took on Villeneuve-d’Ascq and, for the first three quarters, the Czech champions were being hospitable, holding a one-point lead. Then, however, Ezi Magbegor took over on both sides of the floor, blocking shots and rebounding on defense while scoring and distributing the ball on offense. She finished the game with 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five blocks. It’s in large part thanks to her that Praha sit atop Group B with four wins.
Praha has the edge over Çukurova Basketbol Mersin thanks to overall points scored, with the Turkish team getting their fourth win in the only Wednesday game against the Italian league runner-ups. The focal point of Mersin’s offense is Marina Mabrey; the Chicago Sky guard is averaging 18 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. In the game against Virtus, she had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Group B Scores:
Çukurova Basketbol Mersin (Turkey) 73, Virtus Segafredo Bologna (Italy) 65
BC Polkowice (Poland) 92, SERCO UNI Győr (Hungary) 82 (OT)
ZVVZ Usk Praha (Czech Republic) 74, Villeneuve d’Ascq LM (France) 63
Basket Landes (France) 69, Perfumerias Avenida (Spain) 48