Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Spartak Ascends to First Place

In the wake of their surprising loss to TEO Vilnius two weeks ago, Spartak had been tied for second in Group D Euroleague play. Wednesday, Spartak got a chance to face previously undefeated Maxima Broker Kosice. The result? An 89-75 victory that created a three-way tie atop Group D.

It didn't come easy for Spartak, which trailed midway through the third quarter before taking the lead for good and outscoring Kosice 25-12 in the fourth quarter. 84 of Spartak's 89 points came from five players - Sue Bird (15), Sylvia Fowles (19 and 11 boards), Lauren Jackson (14 points, six rebounds in 21 minutes), Tatiana Shchegoleva (11) and Diana Taurasi (a game-high 25). Sidney Spencer paced Kosice with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

ZVVZ USK Praha was no match for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Group C, falling 94-64 after trailing by 18 at the half. Swin Cash played 27 minutes, but was unable to get into an offensive groove. She missed eight of her 10 shot attempts, scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds. With Ekaterinburg also holding Evanthia Maltsi to 2-for-10 shooting, USK Praha struggled on offense.

Turning our attention to EuroCup play, K.V. Imperial AEL suffered a heartbreaking 67-65 home loss to Gospic. Former UTEP guard Natasha Lacy, Shyra Ely's Imperial teammate, split two free throws with a chance to tie the game with five seconds left on the clock. A win would have put Imperial in great position to win Group F; instead, the two teams are tied atop the group. It was a strong night in defeat for Ely, who scored 22 points on 10-of-20 shooting with seven rebounds and four steals.

Lastly Wednesday, Janell Burse and her Dynamo Moscow squad cruised past KSSSE AZS-PWSZ Gorzow 93-64 in Poland. Burse anchored Dynamo in the paint with 14 points and 12 rebounds, dishing out an impressive five assists. Belinda Snell scored 23 points and dished out seven assists. Through three games, Burse is averaging 11.3 rebounds, good for sixth in the EuroCup rankings.

On Thursday, Katie Gearlds (Athinaikos) and Tanisha Wright (Tarbes) will be in action to wrap up international play for the week.


Sue F. said...

Kevin, can you give us a little tutorial on how the Russian league and Euroleague work?

Kevin Pelton said...

The Euroleague features 24 teams in six groups, who will play a double round-robin (home and away) against the other five games.

The top four teams in each group are seeded into a tournament bracket. The "eighth-finals" and quarterfinals are best of three series with home-court advantage.

The top four teams get together for the Euroleague Final Four, held by one of the four teams. Then it becomes two single-elimination games for the championship, a la the NCAA Tournament.

The Russian League is more akin to a professional league, with a 22-game regular season (also double round-robin) and an eight-team playoffs. The series are best of three before the best-of-five finals.

Brian Jaybush said...

Just wondering if you could keep us updated on Kristen O'Neill's Irish team as well as Euroleague -- you've only mentioned it once, and some of us are curious.

Kevin Pelton said...

I check in on Ireland each week, but Kristen hasn't played since the opener. When she gets back out there, I'll resume updating.