Friday, December 12, 2008

EuroCup Playoffs Under Way

Wednesday and Thursday marked the start of the EuroCup's postseason with the Round of 32 or 16th-finals. Under the EuroCup format, teams play a home-and-home series with the winner determined by total differential. That's not uncommon in soccer, but I'm not sure any other basketball league in the world uses aggregate scoring. Anyways, this week sent the higher-seeded teams on the road to start things off.

Dynamo Moscow enters the playoffs as the top seed and did nothing yesterday to lose that distinction, defeating Solna Vikings 75-58 to take a commanding aggregate lead. Nonetheless, Janell Burse said, "We hope to play better at home in Moscow. It was important to win this first game." Burse scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting and pulled down seven boards.

Tanisha Wright's Tarbes Bigorre Elite squad picked up the week's most decisive victory, crushing Baschet ICIM by 52 points, 110-58. Something tells me Tarbes will be moving on. The game was so lopsided Wright was barely needed. She played 16 minutes, scoring three points and handing out four assists.

As Katie Gearlds blogged about, her Athanaikos squad started solidly with an 11-point road win by a 68-57 final at SK Cesis. Gearlds knocked down three triples en route to 11 points, adding four rebounds. She went the distance, playing all 40 minutes.

The only team with Storm ties to host the opening leg was Shyra Ely and K.V. Imperial AEL. For some reason, Ely was limited to 17 minutes, scoring six points and grabbing five boards in that span. Despite Ely's short night, Imperial held off Rivasecopolis 62-58 and can advance by winning the next leg or even playing within three points.

Over in the Euroleague, pool play is just wrapping up. This was round nine out of 10, with playoff play starting when the league resumes after the holidays. On Wednesday, Spartak assured itself the top spot in Group D by doubling up an overmatched Broker Kosice squad 100-50. Lauren Jackson remains locked in, scoring 23 points in 18 minutes and needing just nine shots (eight of them makes, four from three-point range) to do so. That's uber-efficiency.

Sue Bird delivered nine assists in 23 minutes (presumably at least a couple to Jackson), scoring 12 points without a turnover. Not too shabby, I dare say.

The results were not as good for ZVVZ USK Praha. Facing a difficult matchup at UMMC Ekaterinburg, USK Praha got blown out 103-57. It didn't help that an already short-handed squad was without leader Lindsay Whalen. Swin Cash had 13 points and eight boards, but it was not nearly enough. Michaela Ferancikov√° was the only other USK Praha player to score double-figures as the team shot 30.2 percent.

Going into the final round, USK Praha is tied for the fourth and final spot in Group D with Union Hainaut Basket. Union will play Ekaterinburg in the finale, so USK Praha will almost certainly advance with a win over Lotos Gdynia and would tie Lotos for third.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

Any info on Shrya's injury? Stormfans.org has a thread that says she got injured, but the translation is a bit spotty.