International Roundup: Ariel Atkins, Brittney Griner Among Top Performers
None of the three leagues USA Basketball highlights weekly – EuroLeague, EuroCup and Australia’s WNBL – have been immune to postponements due to the pandemic. All three saw major disruptions to schedules, and with playoffs starting in the EuroCup and the EuroLeague winding down, schedules have been compacted in order to keep the playoffs on track.
Highlights of the week include a 29-point performance by Ariel Atkins in a EuroCup round of 16 victory and a 25-point output by Brittney Griner to help keep her team undefeated in EuroLeague play.
EuroCup Round of 16 – Game 1
There should be eight games featured this week. However, due to COVID three games were postponed. The matchups featuring Zabiny Brno versus Tango Bourges and Flammes versus CBK Mersin will be contested Jan. 17 and 19, respectively. The AZS UMCS Lublin versus Villeneuve d’Asqu LM contest also was postponed, but the game has not yet been rescheduled.
Nesibe Aydin 83, Olympiacos SFP 79
Holding a 65-52 lead at the end of the third quarter, Nesibe Aydin held off an Olympiacos surge in the final to claim the 83-79 victory in which it outrebounded Olympiacos 37-22. Alaina Coates posted a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Jessica Thomas added 13 points, six boards and five assists in the win.
Orman Genclik 68, Valencia BC 66
Orman Genclik, which received 23 points from Danielle Robinson and 12 points and 19 rebounds from Teaira McCowan, handed Valencia BC its first EuroCup loss of the season, 68-66. Played at home in Turkey, Orman’s edge came from the line as the team converted on 83.3% (25-30 FTs) from the stripe, with Robinson hitting 11-of-12 of her tries, while Valencia only had nine free throw attempts.
LDLC ASVEL Feminin 76, Nika Syktyvkar 63
Extending its winning streak to seven-straight EuroCup games, LDLC Asvel Feminin traveled to Russia and earned a 76-63 win over Nika Syktyvkar. Serbian Aleksandra Crvendakic had 21 points and 10 boards to lead the French club, and Russian Raisa Musina scored a game-high 27 points for Syktyvkar.
BC Polkowice 75, BC Nadezhda 72
Owning a 10-point, 29-19 lead after the first quarter, BC Polkowice held onto the lead the remainder of the contest, while BC Nadezhda slowly chipped away at the deficit. In the end, the Polish club, playing at home in Polkowice, earned a 75-52 victory. Stephanie Mavunga was a key player in the win with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Erica Wheeler had an impressive debut in her first EuroCup game of the year for Polkowice and posted 16 points, nine assists and three steals.
BC Prometey 93, Castors Braine 92
With the game tied at 92-all and three seconds remaining, Ariel Atkins was fouled pulling down an offensive board and sent to the line for a pair of attempts. She missed the first, but swished in the second, giving BC Prometey a 93-92 lead. A timeout by the opponents was followed by an off-the-mark 3 on the other end and BC came away with the win against Castors Braine in Belgium. Atkins finished with a game-high 29 points, including 5-of-9 from 3-point, five assists and five steals. Joyner Holmes contributed 16 points, six boards and four steals in the win. BC Prometey, which notched 17 steals, scored 26 points off of 27 turnovers.
2021-22 EuroLeague Regular Season Standings & Week 11 Games
Only three of the eight Week 11 games were contested due to postponements. Week 10 saw one game postponed, and Group A’s Perfumerias Avenida (7-2) will play Umana Reyer (3-7) on Jan. 15. Week 11 postponements include Beretta Famila Schio (6-4) versus VBW Arka Gdynia (2-8) on Jan. 22; three games on Jan. 29, including Spar Girona (6-4) against Dynamo Kursk (6-4), Sopron Basket (6-4) versus Fenerbahce (7-3) and BLMA (5-5) versus Perfumerias Avenida (7-2); and Basket Landes (3-7) will face Galatasaray (4-6) on Jan. 30.
The 14-game season is scheduled to conclude with games Feb. 1-2 ahead of the FIBA worldwide window for international competition, and quarterfinals are slated to begin Feb. 23.
|Group A||W-L||Group B||W-L|
|ZVVZ USK Prague||8-3||Spar Girona||6-4|
|Perfumerias Avenida||7-2||Sopron Basket||6-4|
|BLMA||5-5||Beretta Famila Schio||6-4|
|TTT Riga||5-6||Dynamo Kursk||6-4|
|MBA Moscow||3-8||Basket Landes||3-7|
|KSC Szekszard||0-11||VBW Arka Gdynia||2-8|
UMMC Ekaterinburg 90, ZVVZ USK Prague 77
UMMC Ekaterinburg (11-0) traveled to the Czech Republic and picked off ZVVZ USK Prague (8-3) 90-77 behind a game-best 25 points from Brittney Griner, who shot 12-of-15 from the field and also contributed seven points and three assists in just 25 minutes. Also aiding Ekat to victory were Jonquel Jones with 20 points and 11 rebounds, Allie Quigley scored 14 points and Courtney Vandersloot chipped in 10 points and had six assists. Prague, which is in second place and in a good playoff position, received a team-high 19 points and eight rebounds from Brionna Jones.
TTT Riga 62, Umana Reyer 54
Umana Reyer’s (3-7) homecourt advantage and 12 points from Kayla Thornton may have helped keep the game close, but in the end, TTT Riga (5-6), behind a game-high 18 points from Jasmine Thomas, prevailed 62-54. Thomas also notched seven rebounds, six assists and six steals in the win, which helped the Latvian side remain in playoff striking distance.
MBA Moscow 73, KSC Szekszard 64
MBA Moscow (3-8) picked up its third victory of the season, a 73-64 win over KSC Szekszard (0-11) behind 14 points from Russian Zhosselina Maiga. Slovenian Zala Friskovec had a game-high 18 points for host Szekszard in Hungary.
Australia WNBL Postponements Continue
A number of games were postponed due to COVID protocols, including six from Week 6 and the first two scheduled games in Week 7. The only game played since Jan. 2 featured the Perth Lynx edging the Southside Flyers 83-79. The Lynx were led by Marina Mabrey, who tallied 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Jackie Young, who chipped in six points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.