Women’s Basketball Newsletter
Tuesday 6th April 2021
Game of the Week: WBBL Championship BA London Lions – Sevenoaks Suns – 4/4/2021 – London [VIDEO]
Player of the Week: Cat Carr – Sevenoaks Suns vs Nottingham, 19-9-7, vs London 13 Points
Summary of Contents:
- European Round-Ups
- EuroCup FinalFour
Suns stay perfect as Eagles take a step closer to securing their playoff position in the WBBL.
Sevenoaks Suns maintained their perfect run with hard-fought victories over Nottingham on Friday and a table-topping clash with London on Sunday.
Len Busch’s side now holds a perfect 10-0 record and sit third in the standings, with games in hand over both Leicester Riders and London Lions.
Leicester, who picked up victories this weekend over Durham and Cardiff, are slated to face Sevenoaks in a road and home series on the 21st and 25th of April which could ultimately decide the fate of the league championship.
The Riders have lost just once this season, a shock road loss to Essex just after the transfer window closed, and close out their season with a run of six tough games. They take on Nottingham Wildcats at home and finish off with two games against both Sevenoaks and London plus the return against Essex.
In the race for the eight, Newcastle took a huge step to securing their playoff berth with a win over Essex. Newcastle now sits in seventh with a 5-10 record but have played more games than the sides around them. Cardiff is currently the side on the outside looking in on the playoffs and Oaklands hold a game in hand over them.
Both Cardiff and Oaklands face-off with Sevenoaks this week so there is little hope of either picking up a win to help them in the playoff picture, at least in the coming days.
Home comforts in WNBL see all three hosts win this weekend, as CoLA Southwark Pride emerge as title contenders.
Just three games were played in the WNBL this past weekend, with three easy home victories secured.
The playoff picture became even closer as Barking Abbey London Lions II picked up the back-to-back win over Cardiff to extend their streak to three games and go level on wins with Thames Valley Cavaliers and find themselves now in 8th spot in the standings.
TVC have a game in hand over the Lions but were beaten heavily on Saturday by Ipswich as their up and down season continues.
Team Solent Kestrels kept the pressure on the top of the table as they aim for a high playoff seeding with a bounce-back home victory over Reading, who will likely be disappointed after a good performance last time out.
CoLA Southwark Pride are the surprise third team in the title picture, with a 6-3 record. They are on the same number of losses as Loughborough and boast the best defense in the competition. CoLA will make a trip to Cardiff on Thursday afternoon, before taking on TVC on Saturday. Solent don’t play on Saturday, so victory in both games would rank CoLA in third position and a legitimate title contender.
The date to circle in the calendar for CoLA is their clash with Ipswich on the 24th April, which could go a long way to deciding the eventual home of the WNBL league title.
Avenida make light work of Gran Canaria as Valencia are forced to wait for their second leg.
Three of the four semi-final spots have been decided in Spain with Avenida, Girona and Gernika all advancing after playing the two-legged quarter-finals. Avenida and Girona won both their games, but Gernika had to erase a 5 point aggregate deficit to advance past the sixth seeded Estudiantes, promoted to the top flight just this season.
Valencia has an 11 point lead over Ensino but a positive covid test in the Ensino camp has caused a postponement in the second leg of their quarter-final tie. Valencia travels to the Eurocup Final-Four this coming weekend and takes on Flammes Carolo Basket in Szekszard, Hungary on Friday, with a potential final against Venezia or Szekszard on Sunday.
The Semi-Finals of the Liga Endesa Playoffs are not until the 21st and 24th of April with the dates for the final series to be confirmed.
Fenerbahce continue their domination in the playoffs
Fenerbahce has one foot in the Turkish Playoff Final Series after back to back wins over Cankaya University. The number one seed is yet to lose in the league this season and could be squared up against their fierce rivals Galatasaray, should they come through their Semi-Final Series with Nesibe.
Fenerbahce plays game 3 on Wednesday, whilst Galatasary will play game 1 on Tuesday and Game 2 on Thursday. Both Galatasaray and Nesibe swept their Quarter-Final series. Galatasaray came out on top both times they met Nesibe this season, who finished just behind them in the league standings
Ekaterinburg make easy work of Quarter Final as Nika upset Nadezhda
Undefeated UMMC Ekaterinburg stayed perfect as they swept past Sparta&K Vidnoe Moscow Region on their way to a semi-final match-up with Nika, who upset Nadezhda two games to one in their three-game set.
Dynamo Kursk swept Enisey and picked up a game one victory over MBA (who swept past Dynamo Novosibirsk Region) in their side of the semi-final bracket. Kursk, who are headlined by Alex Bentley and Arike Ogunbowale finished the season 14-4 runners up to the 18-0 UMMC Ekaterinburg, who amount to an All-WNBA First team and then some!
Landes ends Bourges perfect season
Table-topping Bourges were handed their first loss of the season on Saturday by their rivals Landes 62-69 at home, ending a 20 game league winning streak.
Landes was led in scoring by Lidija Turcinovic who bagged 13 points but the stand-out performer was Miranda Ayim who had a 12-11 double-double.
Alecia Chartereau hit back with 15 points for Bourges, but it wasn’t enough as they fell for the first time in the league.
Bourges wrapped up the regular season crown a few weeks back but will be wary of Landes should they meet again in the playoffs, having lost to them domestically as well as in Euroleague.
EUROCUP FINAL FOUR Preview
This Friday is the start of the EuroCup Women’s Final Four, taking place in Szekszard in southern Hungary.
The four teams that will compete are hosts Atomeromu Szekszard, Italian league leaders Umana Reyer Venezia, Spanish giants Valencia and Flammes Carolo, who have excelled in EuroCup whilst sitting with a 9-9 record in France.
All four sides topped their groups before advancing through the single elimination knockout stages of the competition.
Venezia beat Gorzow of Poland 72-63 in the round of 16, before overcoming Romania’s Sepsi 78-64 to set up their clash with Atomeromu.
Atomeromu made their way past Hainut of France 66-53 and then overcame Turkey’s Elazig in a 77-67 quarter final victory.
On the other side of the bracket Flammes have been pouring them in with an 81-46 win over Hungarian outfit Cegledi and got by Fribourg of Switzerland 56-85. It is interesting to note that both of those sides finished second in their groups with a 2-1 record.
They will face off with Valencia on Friday and Valencia made light work of Hungary’s Miskolc 80-57 before sweeping aside French side Villeneuve 81-67 in the quarter final.
The final fours are loaded with top tier talent as once again Eurocup has attracted some of the best players on the planet. DeWanna Bonner and Erica McCall are the standout names for Atomeromu who also have Cyesha Goree who has had a standout career in Europe already, featuring for Vezenia and Avenida capturing plenty of plaudits and championships.
As noted in Edition 1 of the newsletter Venezia are headlined by GB superstar and former WNBA champion Temi Fagbenle and current WNBA champion Natasha Howard as well as Serbian international Yvonne Anderson.
Evelyn Akhator, the 2017 WNBA third overall pick is the standout name for Flammes along with former Phoenix Mercury and now Atlanta Dream guard Yvonne Turner. Former Las Vegas Aces draft pick Jaime Nared also stars for Flammes who look to upset the form books and win the EuroCup Women title.
Valencia enter the FinalFour with a typically loaded roster and have Rebecca Allen and Marie Gulich as two standout players but it is the name of Laura Gil that may stand out the most. Gil is one of the most famous players in European basketball. In her career to date she is a one time Euroleague winner, four time Spanish champion, three time EuroBasket Champion there is little Gil has not done in her incredible career, and at just 29 there is plenty to come from the Spanish star.
The semi finals will take place on Friday with the Final being played out on Sunday.
All games will be streamed on the FIBA Youtube channel.
The WNBA 2021 Draft is just around the corner on Thursday 15th April 2021.
The WNBA have announced that college players wishing to enter the draft must opt-in with the participants in the final-four given up to 48 hours after the final to do so.
All NCAA athletes were given an additional year of eligibility and this will allow some undrafted players the possibility of returning to school for a final season, providing they have accepted no money nor signed with an agent.
The rules remain the same as they have in the past for underclassmen, who if draft eligible will forgo their remaining college eligibility.
The top two picks in the draft are in the hands of the Dallas Wings as well as two more picks inside the top 7. The WNBA season will commence on the 15th May 2021, dates and fixtures to be announced.
ALYSHA CLARK OUT FOR WNBA SEASON
Washington Mystic’s new signing Alysha Clark will miss the 2021 WNBA season due to a Lisfranc fracture of her right foot.
Clark has sustained the injury whilst playing for ASVEL in Lyon France and will require surgery.
Clark was awarded the FocusHoops WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and went on to win her second WNBA title this summer, before heading to France for her third season with ASVEL.
Clark was a major addition to the Washington Mystics who would have benefitted from Clark’s elite defence as well as her coming off a career year for Seattle in which she averaged 10 points per game along with 1.5 assists.
Stanford crowned NCAA Tournament Champions
Stanford Cardinal clinched their first NCAA championship since 1992 thanks to their 54-53 win over the third ranked Arizona Wildcats on Sunday evening in San Antonio Texas.
Stanford, coached by the legendary Tara VanDerveer, ran out to a 16-8 lead after the first period including a 12-0 run.
Arizona would win each subsequent period, edging the second quarter 16-15, taking the overall lead of the game briefly midway through the term 21-20.
Stanford rallied and put on a run of their own to take the 24-31 lead into the half.
The third period was more of the same as Arizona found themselves right back in the contest and brought the score to within three at the end of the quarter. Aari McDonald had started to really make her presence felt in the contest during the third and Arizona had taken the period 16-12 setting up a thrilling final ten minutes.
As they had done to start the contest Stanford went on a run, thanks in no small part to Most Outstanding Player Haley Jones to bring the score to 40-49 with 7:30 left in the game.
McDonald and Shaina Pellington were not letting Arizona lose without a fight and helped to rally the contest back to within a single point, 50-51 with 3:35 remaining, a McDonald triple. Stanford’s Jones hit back a minute later with an and-one jumper but Stanford’s scoring was done.
Aari McDonald was sent to the line four times inside the final minute going three of four. Stanford had the ball in their hand with 36 seconds on the clock but looked like needing a basket. On the out of timeout set, they killed the full 30 seconds without challenging Arizona one. McDonald would have the ball in her hands with 6 seconds left in the game but the triple team smothered her, even despite this she got her shot up but it agonizingly didn’t drop.
Stanford were well worth their victory overall, but had some head scratching moments down the stretch which were alluded to by Head Coach VanDerveer in the post game press conference.
Warrington’s own Hannah Jump came off the bench to record one rebound and one assist in eight minutes on her way to championship glory with Stanford. The Sophomore is the first ever Brit to win the NCAA tournamentt.
An excellent and entertaining game of basketball showcased some incredible individual talent and spotlighted some very good team basketball from both sides.
Built it and they will come – NCAA VIEWING FIGURES
The Women’s March Madness Tournament has been must watch basketball viewing again this season and the numbers support it.
The much anticipated Sweet-16 clash between UConn and Iowa drew 1.559 million viewers on ABC and Baylor vs University of Michigan drew 1.223 million. NBA games have averaged 1.06 million views per game this season according to SBNation.
According to sponsorship analytics platform Zoomph, the Elite Eight contest between UConn and Baylor (that ended on a very controversial no call that had LeBron James up in arms) has close to 10,000 twitter posts about it, double that of the men’s match ups in the tournament.
Overnight figures posted by ESPNPR state averaged 3.6 million viewers for the Championship game between Stanford and Arizona, with a peak of 5.3 million viewers.
This is further proof that women’s basketball is in demand, is watched in large numbers, is talked about and that if you build it, if you make it accessible to the people, they will watch it.
Manchester Met Mystics 64-58 Durham Palatinates – 31/3/2021 – Manchester
London Lions 87-66 Essex Rebels – 2/4/2021 – London
Nottingham Wildcats 53-65 Sevenoaks Suns – 2/4/2021 – Nottingham
Cardiff Met Archers 60-80 Leicester Riders – 3/4/2021 – Cardiff
Caledonia Pride 64-66 Manchester Met Mystics – 3/4/2021 – Edinburgh
London Lions 84-91 Sevenoaks Suns 4/4/2021 – London
Newcastle Eagles 69-56 Essex Rebels – 4/42021 – Newcastle
Leicester Riders 94-51 Durham Palatinates – 4/4/2021 – Leicester
Ipswich Basketball 94-72 Thames Valley Cavaliers – 3/4/2021 – Ipswich
BA London Lions II 61-52 Cardiff Met Archers II – 3/4/2021 – London
Team Solent Kestrels 79-52 Reading Rockets – 3/4/2021 – Southampton
Gran Canaria 61-80 Avenida – Spain Playoff QF Leg 1
Avenida 95-62 Gran Canaria – Spain Playoff QF Leg 2 – AVENIDA ADVANCE
Estudiantes 47-42 Gernika Spain Playoff QF Leg 1
Gernika 74-64 Estudiantes – Spain Playoff QF Leg 2 – GERNIKA ADVANCE
Ensino 58-96 Valencia– Spain Playoff QF Leg 1
Valencia PP Ensino – Spain Playoff QF Second Leg Postponed
Clarinos 45-79 Girona Spain Playoff QF Leg 1
Girona 74-67 Clarinos – Spain Playoff QF Leg 2 – GIRONA ADVANCE
Fenerbahce 86-61 Cankaya – Turkey Playoff SF Leg 1
Fenerbahce 83-61 Cankaya – Turkey Playoff SF Leg 2 FEN Lead 2-0
Bourges 62-69 Landes – France – 3/4/2021
NCAA Women’s Tournament
Final Four – San Antonia, Texas, USA
SF 1: #1 Stanford 66 – 65 #1 South Carolina – 2/4/2021
SF 2: #1 UConn 59 – 69 #3 Arizona – 2/4/2021
Championship Game: #1 Stanford 54-53 #3 Arizona – 4/4/2021