International Roundup: Semifinal Pairings Set for EuroLeague, EuroCup and WNBL
Helped by former USA Basketball team members and 2022 USA World Cup Team hopefuls, four teams remain in the hunt for a championship in each of the three major women's international basketball leagues.
EuroLeague Final Four Teams Ready for Action
Two of the four clubs – Fenerbahce and Sopron Basket – already clinched their 2022 EuroLeague semifinal berths by March 10. Last week saw the Beretta Famila Schio versus ZVVZ USK Prague and the Perfumerias Avenida versus Spar Girona quarterfinals series go to three games. Emerging victorious were Avenida and Prague.
Semifinal games, which will pit Avenida against Sopron and USK against Fener, will be played Friday, April 8. The championship and consolation games will be held Sunday, April 10.
Fenerbahce Safiport (Turkey)
Fener finished the regular season at 11-3 and in the top spot in Group B in the regular season. Fener is being led in scoring by Kayla McBride with a league third-best 19.0 ppg. to go with 3.3 apg. Elizabeth Williams is averaging 13.2 ppg. and a league fifth-best 9.2 rpg. Williams also is tied among league leaders for most double-doubles with seven. Americans also will be familiar with former Oregon standout, Germany’s Satou Sabally, who is averaging 16.1 ppg., 8.2 rpg. and 2.4 apg.
Perfumerias Avenida (Spain)
Avenida closed the regular season with an 11-3 mark and in second place in Group A but was bumped to the No. 1 seed after the EuroCup removed UMMC Ekaterinburg (14-0). Averaging 22.5 ppg., Kahleah Copper is the EuroLeague’s top scorer this season. Avenida also is aided by Katie Lou Samuelson (16.0 ppg., 3.6 rpg., 2.4 apg.) and her sister Karlie Samuelson (7.4 ppg., 2.4 rpg.) and Bella Alarie (5.0 ppg., 4.3 rpg.). “Lou,” however, has not played in a game since a 15-point performance against UMMC Ekaterinburg on Feb. 1, ahead of the February EuroLeague break.
Sopron Basket (Hungary)
Sopron finished second in Group B after claiming the tiebreaker of the three teams that had identical 8-6 regular season slates. The team boasts well-rounded scoring with five players averaging between 10.2 ppg. and 13.6 ppg. Gabby Williams is one of Sopron’s top scorers and is averaging 13.4 pg., 5.6 rpg. and 3.7 apg.; and Briann January is averaging 10.5 ppg. and 4.4 apg. Sopron picked up Stefanie Dolson ahead of the playoffs. While getting used to the team’s sets, Dolson saw time in Sopron’s two quarterfinals wins, including shooting 2-of-2 and collecting five points and three rebounds in 13 minutes in Sopron’s second game.
ZVVZ USK Prague (Czech Republic)
Closing the season with a 10-4 record and in third place in Group A, Prague’s scoring, rebounding and assists averages are each ranked second among the 2021-22 EuroLeague teams. The Czech club has been bolstered this season by the one-two punch of Brionna Jones and Alyssa Thomas. Jones is averaging a league second-best 19.8 ppg. and 8.5 rpg., while Thomas has produced 14.4 ppg., a league fourth-best 9.5 rpg. and a league second-best 5.7 apg. Thomas’s six double-doubles are the second-most produced in the league this year.
2022 EuroLeague Quarterfinals Games 2 and 3
ZVVZ USK Prague vs. Beretta Famila Schio
Game 1: Prague 72, Schio 70
Game 2: Schio 69, Prague 56.
Schio forced a third game after earning a 69-56 victory at home in Italy with Diamond DeShields chipping in seven points in the win. Prague’s duo of Jones and Thomas notched a pair of double-doubles, 18 points and 17 boards for Jones and 15 points, 14 rebounds for Thomas.
Game 3: March 18 in Prague, Czech Republic.
Prague, again led by Jones and Thomas, took the semifinal-clinching third game 90-77 as Thomas scored 18 points and Jones tallied 12 points and 11 caroms. Spain’s Maria Conde was Prague’s leading scorer with 25 points. DeShields closed out her 2022 EuroLeague season with a 14-point, seven-rebound performance in the loss.
Perfumerias Avenida vs. Spar Girona
Game 1: Perfumerias Avenida 77, Spar Girona 63
Game 2: Spar Girona 81, Perfumerias Avenida 79
In an even battle for the two Spanish squads, Spar Girona, which received a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds from Rebekah Gardner and 18 from Kennedy Burke, held off Perfumerias Avenida for the 81-79 win to force Game 3. Copper paced Avenida with 20 points and added seven rebounds and a pair of steals.
Game 3: Perfumerias Avenida 74, Spar Girona 65
Moving back to its home court in Salamanca, Avenida took the decisive final game with a 74-65 win to advance to the semifinals. Copper led the way for Avenida with game-highs of 23 points and 14 rebounds, while Karlie Samuelson added 15 points and Alarie scored 12. Burke and Gardner wrapped up their 2022 EuroLeague campaign with 11 and eight points, respectively.
2022 EuroCup Quarterfinals Game 2, Semifinalists Set
The quarterfinal round wrapped up over the weekend and the four advancing teams are Tango Bourges Basket (France), Galatasaray (Turkey), Umana Reyer (Italy) and CBK Mersin. Bourges will face Galatasaray and Umana Reyer will play CBK Mersin in the Tuesday, April 5 semifinal games. The championship and consolation games will be played on Thursday, April 7.
*Statistics are from two EuroCup quarterfinals games. Gala and Reyer each finished with a 5-9 record in the EuroLeague and were relegated to the EuroCup quarterfinals.
Game 2: Tango Bourges Basket 74, Basket Landes 55
Tango Bourges Basket earned its semifinal berth after splitting a pair of games against Basket Landes, but after a two-point loss in the first game, outscored Landes 25-8 in the first quarter and came away with a 19-point victory, 74-55. Bourges was led by France’s Isabelle Yacoubou’s 13 points and American Keisha Hampton chipped in eight points, eight rebounds and three assists, while Kristen Mann added three boards and three assists.
Game 2: Galatasaray 76, KSC Szekszard 69
With a 35-point margin of victory in its two-game sweep, Galatasaray was powered to its 76-69 win in Game 2 over KSC Szekszard by Kelsey Plum’s 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists; and Kaela Davis scored 19 points and grabbed six caroms.
Game 2: Umana Reyer 75, Valencia BC 67
After a four-point loss in the first game, Umana Reyer upset Valencia BC 75-67 to knock off the 2021 SuperCup champions and overall favorite Valencia BC 76-67. Serbian Yvonne Anderson scored 23 points and Kayla Thornton added 18 points and seven rebounds in the win. Cierra Burdick had eight points and six rebounds and Kayla Alexandra chipped in five points and six boards in their final EuroCup game of the year.
Game 2: CBK Mersin 82, LDLC ASVEL Feminin 68
After a 13-point win in the first game, CBK Mersin collected a 14-point victory in Game 2, 82-68 over LDLC ASVEL Feminin, to cruise into the semifinals. Tiffany Hayes led Mersin with 18 points, DeWanna Bonner scored 17 points and grabbed 11 boards and Jasmine Thomas contributed 14 points.
WNBL Semifinals Series Scheduled
The WNBL season came to a close and the top four teams, Melbourne Boomers (12-5), Perth Lynx (11-5), UC Capitals (11-6) and Adelaide Lightning (10-7) advanced to the semifinals, which will see the winner of the two best-of-three series advance to the finals.
Competing March 24, March 26 and, if necessary, March 31 will be the No. 1 seed Boomers versus the No. 4 seed Lightning. In the other side of the bracket are the No. 2 Lynx versus the No. 3 UC Capitals on March 24, March 27 and, if necessary, March 30.
The Lightning, which lost four of its final five games of the season, is paced in scoring by the Indiana Fever’s Alanna Smith’s 17.4 ppg. Kiana Williams contributes 11.1 ppg. and 3.1 apg., while American compatriot Kylee Shook adds 10.7 ppg., 8.7 rpg. and 1.2 bpg.
The Boomers, which closed the season on a two-game winning streak, feature Americans Lindsay Allen and Tiffany Mitchell, as well as Ezi Magbegor, who plays for the Seattle Storm and leads the Boomers with 16.2 ppg. Mitchell averaged 15.2 ppg., 4.2 rpg. and 2.8 apg.; while Allen scored at a clip of 12.8 ppg. and dished out a team-high 3.7 apg.
Marina Mabrey and Jackie Young are the two featured Americans on the Lynx roster and also the top two scorers with Marbrey ringing in at 18.7 ppg. and Young at 18.1 ppg. Young adds team second bests of 3.3 apg. and 1.8 spg., while Mabrey is third in both categories at 3.1 apg. and 1.4 spg.
Kelsey Griffin and Brittany Sykes were instrumental in the regular season for the UC Capitals. Sykes averaged team-highs of 16.6 ppg., 5.1 apg. and 2.5 spg., while adding 4.9 rpg. Griffin’s 15.1 ppg. average is second on the team and she leads in rebounds and blocked shots at 8.1 rpg. and 1.1 bpg.