Women’s Basketball Newsletter
Friday 23rd April 2021
Game of the Week:
Sevenoaks Suns 63 – 51 Leicester Riders – 21-4-2021 – Guildford
Player of the Week:
Cat Carr 20-12-9 vs Leicester Rider 21-4-2021
Summary of Contents:
- European Round-Ups
- EuroLeague Women FinalFour
- WNBA Draft
- WNBA Roster Moves
Sevenoaks Suns with one hand on the WBBL League Trophy as they down Riders at home
The Sevenoaks Suns continue their incredible form as they move to an 18-0 record after they consigned Leicester Riders to just their second league defeat of the 2020-21 WBBL season, 63-51 on Wednesday in Guildford, Surrey.
Sevenoaks and Leicester have two games each left, including one against each other this coming Sunday in Leicester. Leicester will need to win that game by 13 points or more and hope Caledonia Pride do the unthinkable win at home to Sevenoaks.
Leicester will also need to overcome a London Lions outfit, away in Barking Abbey, that the Riders beat at home last Wednesday 83-74 and then defeat the Suns in their final game of the season to clinch the title.
At the other end of the table, Oaklands and Cardiff Met are still tied on five victories, as Oaklands have two games in hand over Cardiff they are in the driving seat for the final playoff spot and they currently hold the tie-breaking head-to-head after beating Cardiff by 8 points back in March. The two sides will clash for the final time this season at Oaklands on Friday night at 8:15 pm, with Cardiff needing a big win to boost their chances of making the postseason. Cardiff finishes their regular season with a road trip to Essex on Sunday.
Ipswich and CoLA keep winning as Riders bounce back in the WNBL
It was as you were after this weekend in the WNBL D1 as both title challengers Ipswich and CoLA Southwark Pride picked up valuable victories as they remain on a collision course as the two clubs will meet to potentially decide the fate of the WNBL D1 title on Saturday.
Ipswich won their first outing with CoLA Southwark Pride in overtime 77-81 after a tough contest at the City of London Academy. Ipswich will all but confirm their second straight title with victory over CoLA and even a CoLA win of less than 5 points still gives Ipswich the upper hand down the stretch.
Ipswich face off against two tough opponents in Loughborough and Reading to close out their season next weekend.
CoLA need a 6 point or more victory a Loughborough or Reading win over Ipswich and for to go perfect the rest of the way to secure the title.
Loughborough are in with a chance, but they need Ipswich to lose two of their last three games and can not afford any more slip ups.
In the playoff race, Barking Abbey and Worcester both picked up victories this weekend as Thames Valley Cavaliers went winless on the weekend to see themselves on the outside looking in, but with games in hand over the London outfit.
Sky Sports to Broadcast WBBL Playoffs as format confirmed
The WBBL have confirmed their playoff format for the 2021 postseason this week.
All games will be broadcast by Sky Sports on YouTube with select games also making it on to Sky Sports.
All games will be single elimination, as is always the way in the WBBL.
The quarter finals will be held in Newcastle the weekend of the 1st May with the victors heading to Worcester for the semi’s the following weekend.
The WBBL season will culminate in Leicester on Sunday 16th May, sharing the bill with the Men’s BBL playoff Final.
UMMC Ekaterinburg complete flawless EuroLeague season with victory in FinalFour
The FIBA EuroLeague Women has come to an end for another year and it is the Russian juggernaut UMMC Ekaterinburg who clinched their sixth title, after the FinalFour this weekend in Istanbul.
Ekaterinburg got their FinalFour campaign underway with a hard-fought victory over the hosts Fenerbahce on Friday afternoon, clinching their spot in the final with an 84-88 win.
Fenerbahce did well to keep things close in the first period, but were down by seven headed into the break at half. After tying the third period 13 all Fenerbahce clawed the gap back to tie it up momentarily with three minutes to go in the game, but the strength of Ekaterinburg was just too much, even for back-to-back MVP Alina Iagupova, who finished with a 26-4-8 performance.
Satou Sabally drew plenty of plaudits in the contest finishing with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists whilst Allie Quigley finished with a game high 27 points for Ekaterinburg.
In the other semi on Friday night, Spanish champions Avenida dispatched with Hungarian side Sopron by a final of 72-61as Tiffany Hayes went off for a highly efficient 25 points in the ball game. Nobody in Sopron’s star studded line-up could match the scoring of Hayes, whose own scoring was backed up by Katie Lou Samuelson’s 16 points on 5 of 9 shooting, to set up Sunday’s finale.
The third placed playoff was won by Fenerbahce, 58-64 over the Hungarians as they finished a strong EuroLeague campaign with a victory. Fener led the game from the start and never let up, finishing with four players in double figures scoring, Kayla McBride leading her side with 15 points.
Jelena Brooks and Tina Krajisnik impressed for Sopron as they racked up the points and rebound (Krajisnik finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds) but without Gabby Williams they were always second best in the contest.
Sunday evening’s final had an air of formality to it, Avenida, playing the role of underdogs facing off against the five time champions, boasting what amounts to a WNBA dream team plus, now six-time winner, Alba Torrens.
Despite the on paper disparity Avenida came out the gates strong taking the opening period 21-16, but did allow UMMC back into the contest with a 7-0 run to see out the first period. Tiffany Hayes and Eseme Hof were the all action stars early for the spanish side as Ekaterinburg started slowly.
Any illusions of a major upset were soon dashed as Ekaterinburg turned it up a notch. After trading buckets to get the score tied at 25, Ekaterinburg went on a charge to come into halftime with a 9 point advantage, taking the period 23 points to 9.
A fighting performance for Avenida in the third saw the gap shrink slightly, but Ekaterinburg would complete a professional performance running out 10 point winners, 68-78 over the Spanish club.
Breanna Stewart clinched the Final Four MVP, with many believing the performance of Courtney Vandersloot and Emma Meessesman dominating the final itself, and being deserving of the MVP award.
Meesseman finished with 19 points and 8 boards in the final whilst Vandersloot finished with a 12 point, 12 assist double-double as arguably the greatest passer in the history of the sport continues her dominance.
Tiffany Hayes was unstoppable for Avenida as she finished the campaign with a 29 point, 5 rebound and 4 assist performance. Unfortunately for Avenida she didn’t have a deputy in the scoring as Hof and Nikolina Milic top scored with 8 points apiece.
All four EuroLeague Women Final Four competitors now head into the final legs of their domestic playoff series. For Ekaterinburg it will be a case of continuing their dominant winning streak, whilst the other three clubs need to dust themselves off and go again.
PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL LEAGUE
British Wheelchair Basketball this week launched the Women’s Premier League.
The BWB Women’s Premier League will make history as the first professional women’s wheelchair basketball league in the world and the first professional para-sport league in the UK.
The four-team league will feature high performance partnerships with four elite sporting universities, being centres of excellence for wheelchair basketball in the UK.
The four franchises will be based at Cardiff Met University, Loughborough University, University of East London and University of Worcester.
All four universities have a great history in running basketball and, as they do in running basketball, are currently recruiting elite players for the Women’s Premier League teams, and their university BUCS teams.
Great Britain are amongst the best in the world for both women’s and men’s Wheelchair basketball, consistently competing for medals in international competition, and this league is part of an ongoing effort to continue and build upon this success.
WNBA DRAFT PICKS
The WNBA Draft took place last Thursday evening with the Dallas Wings locking out the first two spots in the draft, plus the fifth and thirteenth picks.
This draft is a strange one in that, despite it being a draft full of talent, we are on course for as many as half of the first rounders not making WNBA rosters, given the absurd abundance of talent and scarcity of jobs in America’s premier league.
The Dallas Wings took bigs with their first two picks, Charli Collier, a center from Texas and Awak Kuier, a center from Finland who represented Virtus Ragusa in Italy and in EuroCup this season.
Collier is a very decorated college player who is taking the opportunity to go pro despite having a season of eligibility remaining.
Arizona star Aari McDonald went third overall going to the Atlanta Dream where she will vie for a job with last year’s first rounder Chennedy Carter.
The fourth pick in the draft turned the night on it’s head as projected third rounder Kysre Gondrezick, a guard out of West Virginia, was taken by the Indiana Fever. This pick was so off the wall that ESPN didn’t even have a full video package ready of talking points, and promptly went to commercial after her announcement.
Dallas took Chelsea Dungee, a guard from Arkansas who will look to crack into a crowded backcourt ahead of Marina Mabrey alongside Arike Ogunbowale.
After the shocking Gondrezick selection the draft went into a tailspin with Rennia Davis falling to the Minnesota Lynx at 9 (the Lynx did it again!) and Dana Evans falling all the way to 13th pick in the draft.
This draft was a strong showing for international talent as three international players went in the first round. Kuier went second overall with Aussie star Shyla Heal going to Chicago at 8 and French forward Iliana Rupert headed to the Aces at 12th.
With the 15th pick the Atlanta Dream selected the Valencia star Raquel Carrera Quintana, who just last weekend won her side the EuroCup with clutch free throws, clinching victory against two former WNBA Champions.
Women’s college defensive player of the year Natasha Mack was selected with the 16th overall pick by the Chicago Sky, having been previously touted as a potential sixth overall pick in mock drafts earlier in the week.
As we said at the top, this is a talented set of players, but many will not be on WNBA rosters come opening day as the absurdly limited opportunities continue to limit the potential of the WNBA.
SCORES 17/4/2021 – 21/4/2021
Caledonia Pride – 73 – 68 Cardiff Met Archers – 17-4-2021 – Edinburgh
Leicester Riders 71 – 42 Essex Rebels – 17-4-2021 – Loughborough
Sevenoaks Suns 76 – 62 Nottingham Wildcats -17-4-2021- Guildford
London Lions 87 – 71 Manchester Met Mystics – 17-4-2021 – London
Newcastle Eagles 66 – 61 Durham Palatinates – 18-4-2021 – Newcastle
Oaklands Wolves 81 – 71 Manchester Met Mystics – 18-4-2021 – Hitchin
Essex Rebels 71 – 87 Sevenoaks Suns – 18-4-2021 – Chelmsford
Sevenoaks Suns 63 – 51 Leicester Riders – 21-4-2021 – Guildford
Essex Rebels 20 – 0 Caledonia Pride – 21-4-2021 – Chelmsford
Cardiff Met Archers 62 – 67 Nottingham Wildcats – 21-4-2021 – Cardiff
Ipswich Basketball 91-61 Worcester Wolves – 17-4-2021 – Ipswich
Thames Valley Cavaliers 66 – 72 Loughborough Riders Women – 17-4-2021 – Uxbridge
Nottingham Trent University 92 – 84 Team Solent Kestrels (OT) – 17-4-2021 – Nottingham
CoLA Southwark Pride 88 – 52 Cardiff Met Archers – 17-4-2021 – London
BA London Lions II 65 – 62 Reading Rockets – 17-4-2021- London
Nottingham Trent University 77 – 72 – 18-4-2021 – Nottingham
BA London Lions II 53 – 73 CoLA Southwark Pride – 18-4-2021 – London
EuroLeague Women FinalFour
UMMC Ekaterinburg –score Fenerbahce – 16-4-2021 – Semi-final – Turkey
Perfumerias Avenida – Sopron Basket – 16-4-2021 – Semi-final – Turkey
Fenerbahce – Sopron – 18-4-2021 – Third Place Game – Turkey
UMMC Ekaterinburg – Perfumerias Avenida – 18-4-2021 – Final – Turkey