Saturday, May 2, 2009

Storm Players Into Finals

As we head into May and approach WNBA training camps, overseas play is winding down. Just two Storm players are still in action, and both of their teams are currently playing for national league championships in finals series.

In the Italian Lega Basket Femminile, Game 1 of the finals was today. Suzy Batkovic's Cras Basket Taranto team went on the road under the 1-2-1-1 format used by the LBF and fell 74-62 to Umana Venezia. Taranto led through much of the first half, but was outscored 19-8 in the third quarter as Venezia took command of the game.

Batkovic scored 14 points for Taranto, making four of her five shot attempts and all six of her tries from the free-throw line. The rest of Batkovic's teammates had a tough time finishing, as Taranto shot 35.9 percent on two-point shots. Megan Mahoney scored 15 and Michelle Greco 11 for Taranto.

Venezia features WNBA players Essence Carson and Vanessa Hayden-Johnson as well as WNBA vet Mery Andrade, but it was Italian vet Simona Ballardini - one of the team's go-to players - who led Venezia with 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

The series now shifts to Taranto for games Tuesday and Thursday.

Tanisha Wright's Tarbes Bigorre Elite team won its way to the French LFB Finals last Wednesday, sweeping a semifinals matchup against Villeneuve d'Ascq with a 74-56 victory. Wright had 12 points and seven assists and five Tarbes players scored double-figures. Bourges also swept into the finals, setting up a showdown between the two top teams in France.

The best-of-three series opens Wednesday, with a last possible date of the following Tuesday, May 12.

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