First EuroLeague Quarterfinals Games Complete, Teams Make Strong Case for Final Four Advancement
While today’s four games were not necessarily indicative of which four teams will advance to the Final Four, it’s important to remember that the EuroLeague quarterfinals feature a two-game series, and the advancing team will be the one with the higher aggregate score over the two games. Thus, running up the score is as important to a winning team as is cutting the deficit for the losing team.
In the closest of the four games, Perfumerias Avenida held off a late attack by Spar Girona for an eight-point, 74-66, win. The largest margin of victory in today’s contests was a 35-point victory by Sopron over Lyon.
The quarterfinals were scheduled as a home and away game for each team, but instead games are being held either in Sopron, Hungary, or Salamanca, Spain.
The second games will be contested on Friday, March 19.
Winners of the quarterfinals will advance to the April 16 seminfinals. The EuroLeague champion will be crowned April 18.
UMMC Ekaterinburg 80, Dynamo Kursk 67
UMMC Ekaterinburg, which shot a red-hot 64.5% (20-31 FGs) in the first half and held Dynamo Kursk to just 31.6% (12-38 FGs) during that time, owned a 52-36 lead at halftime and cruised in for the 80-67 final in Sopron.
Coming out of the break, Brittney Griner, who had 11 points in the first half, scored UMMC’s first six points of the third period, which ended with Ekat ahead 70-52. Kursk found a little rhythm in the fourth period and was able to outscore Ekat 15-10, but heads into Friday’s contest needing to overcome a 13-point deficit.
Griner poured in a game-high 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field and grabbed six boards, while her Ekat teammate Breanna Stewart finished with four points, a game-best 12 boards and four assists. Arike Ogunbowale topped out with 13 points, five boards and five assists for Kursk.
Fenerbahce 91, Galatasaray 74
In a clash between a pair of storied Turkish clubs, Fenerbahce held a 44-41 edge at halftime and outscored Galatasaray 20-12 in the third period for a 63-54 advantage heading into the final quarter. Fener closed out the game, played in Salamanca, with a 17-point, 91-74 win.
USA National Team members Kayla McBride and Jasmine Thomas combined for 14 points and six assists in Fener’s victory.
Sopron Basket 94, LDLC Asvel Femimin 66
After an even first quarter that ended at 20-all, Sopron utilized its home court advantage in opening up the game with a 25-12 second quarter run for a 12-point, 45-32, halftime lead. Sopron continued to pull away in the second half, winning the third quarter 23-14 and the fourth by 26-20 for the 35-point blowout.
While no members of the 2021 USA National Team compete for either Euro club, 2013-16 USA National Team member Briann January and three-time USA Basketball medalist Megan Walker play for Sopron. January scored six points and doled out six assists, while Walker notched 15 points off the bench.
Perfumerias Avenida 74, Spar Girona 66
After jumping to an eight-point lead after the first quarter (20-12), Perfumerias Avenida, playing on its home court, expanded the lead to 39-27 at halftime and 55-41 at the end of the third quarter. However, Girona fought back in the fourth quarter to bring the final score to a 74-66 and has the ability to make up the eight-point deficit in the second game.
Tiffany Hayes and Katie Lou Samuelson scored nine points apiece for the Spanish club, and Samuelson also grabbed eight rebounds.
Chelsea Gray notched six points, four rebounds and a pair of steals for Girona.