Women’s Basketball Newsletter
Saturday 1st May 2021
Game of the Week: Perfumerias Avenida 64 – 67 Valencia Basket – 29-4-2021 – Spain
Player of the Week: Raquel Carrera-Quintana – Valencia Basket
Summary of Contents:
- European Round-Ups
- EuroCup FinalFour
Sevenoaks Suns clinch title as WBBL heads to May Madness
The Sevenoaks Suns are the 2020-21 WBBL Champions after clinching the title this Sunday, despite loss to the Leicester Riders, 64-58 in Loughborough.
Leicester needed to win by at least 13 points and then hope Sevenoaks, now three time champions, lost to Caledonia Pride on Wednesday evening. The Suns were close to capping an incredible unbeaten domestic campaign, but for an inspired 20 minutes from Riders as they capitalised on any mistake made by the Kent club.
Sevenoaks have been hit hard during the season due to the pandemic which meant an enormous backlog of games to be played in the last two months. Despite this, the Kent outfit managed to string together 18 straight wins in the league including huge wins over London and Loughborough on their way to glory.
The Suns have been led once again by the great Cat Carr, who some will consider the WBBL’s greatest ever player along with TaYani Clark, one of the most fearsome backcourts in the league. Sevenoaks have also boasted GB talent in Janice Monakana and Renee Busch, both of whom have changed games by themselves this season.
Head coach Len Busch also had at his disposal Iberian stars Lavinia Da Silva and Irene Garrido Perez, who has been big game players all season, along with WNBL star Katrin Hulme, who joined up with Sevenoaks after ARU’s season came to an abrupt end.
As he always has, Len Busch has managed to find the blend between top international and British talent, whilst giving opportunities to young players such as Asha Andrews and Hayley Miller.
Rider’s victory last week sets us up for an enthralling May Madness playoffs, as it has been dubbed by the WBBL and BBL, which tips off this weekend in Newcastle.
This weekend’s fixtures are below:
1 Sevenoaks Suns vs 8 Oaklands Wolves – 5pm – Newcastle
2 Leicester Riders v 7 Newcastle Eagles – 7:30pm – Newcastle
3 London Lions vs 6 Essex Rebels – 3pm – Newcastle
4 Nottingham Wildcats v 5 Manchester Met Mystics – 5.30pm – Newcastle
The Riders and Suns showdown last weekend could well serve as a dress rehearsal for the Playoff Final, to be played in Leicester, as the top two sides in the WBBL could well face off yet again on the big stage.
The last WBBL Playoff Final was contested by the two, with the Suns emerging victorious, 60-55, to clinch their third straight playoff final victory at the o2 Arena back in 2019.
Due to the social media boycott this weekend, aimed at tackling online racial and sexist abuse suffered by athletes, the WBBL games will no longer be available on the Sky Sports youtube channel, but will be made available on the BBL Player for free.
Ipswich with one hand on the trophy as they host Riders in showdown
Ipswich took a huge step towards clinching the 2020-21 WNBL regular season crown with a decisive victory over CoLA Southwark Pride this weekend at home.
CoLA Southwark Pride were the team with the best chance of taking the crown away from Ipswich but the loss now sees CoLA on four losses for the season, tied with Loughborough to Ipswich’s two.
Ipswich could seal the title this Saturday afternoon when they take on Loughborough at Ipswich as the two high flying clubs clash in Ipswich’s penultimate game. Faint hope does remain for Loughborough, but they would need to beat Ipswich away and then hope Reading do the job over Ipswich in Berkshire.
Reading soundly beat Loughborough a few weeks ago, so anything is possible, but Ipswich will go all out to prevent that being a possibility in their game with Riders.
In the playoff hunt Barking Abbey London Lions II remain in the eighth seed, but Thames Valley in ninth are in the driving seat. London has a 4-12 record, whereas TVC have a 3-11 record, two games in hand over London.
London and Thames Valley meet on Saturday at 3pm in a huge fixture which London must win. The Lions then close out their season away to Worcester Wolves, next Saturday, on 8th May.
Thames Valley have London and Worcester back to back this weekend and then a home and road series with Cardiff Met Archers II who have just one win all season.
Thames Valley has a simple job over the next two weeks. Beat London by more than three points and then win one more game. It is a simple task, but not an easy one as Worcester and London have been feisty of late, including Worcester’s incredible fightback against Nottingham Trent University on the big stage of NBL Live, and Cardiff have run teams close in recent weeks.
As always, the WNBL does not disappoint in terms of late season drama, and we’re not even into the playoffs yet.
UMMC Ekaterinburg sweep the season
Russian behemoth UMMC Ekaterinburg clinched the Russia playoffs this week with a 3-0 sweep of Dynamo Kursk.
UMMC have once again dominated this season clinching EuroLeague honours, dominating the playoffs and regular season to win the league and clinching the Russian SuperCup.
For the third straight finals UMMC swept Kursk, and have won every playoff that has been played since 2008-09.
It will come as no surprise then that they have a litany of players winning end of season awards.
Brittany Steward clinched League MVP honours, whilst Brittney Griner clinched Finals MVP. Courtney Vandersloot and Mariya Vadeeva won guard and center of the year respectively whilst Vadeeva also won domestic player of the year. Emma Meesseman was named Defensive Player of the Year whilst Miguel Mendez took away the coaching crown.
They had three players in the Eurobasket.com PBL 1st team, with Vandersloot, Stewart and Vadeeva joined by Kursk’s Arike Ogunbowale and Raisa Musina.
Turkey keeping the world waiting
The Turkish playoff finals are yet to be confirmed as Fenerbahce must wait until Sunday 2nd May to know who they will face in the final series.
Galatasaray and Nesibe are tied 2-2 with a deciding game to play after Nesibe tied the series 58-68 on Friday night. Fenerbahce have not played for over two weeks, since their EuroLeague third placed finish which could give the winners of the semifinal some hope.
This is a very interesting season and is going to have some level of impact on WNBA rosters, as training camp started in America this past week, with many teams missing star players who were in Europe.
Shey Peddey, has been a major impact in these semi finals for Nesibe and had 21 points in the fourth game of the series, keeping her side’s hopes alive.
Venezia and Schio to face-off in Italy
Italian basketball’s top-two will go toe-to-toe in the final round of the playoffs as Venezia made it past Bologna on Thursday and Schio got by Ragusa on Friday night, both in 2-0 sweeps.
For Venezia this is a chance to finish the season on a high after the crushing blow of a last second loss to Valencia in the EuroCup final, whilst Schio will be hoping to cap off an up and down year with a championship.
Schio struggled in EuroLeague action, failing to make it out of the group stages but have been strong in the league losing just two games all season.
Schio are headlined by Sandrine Gruda and Natalie Achonwa and will fancy their chances against Venezia who boast WNBA Champions Temi Fagbenle and Natasha Howard amongst their ranks.
Raquel Carrera Quintana does it again in the playoff finals
Arguably the biggest winner in European basketball this season has been Raquel Carrera Quintana who has seen her stock soar as she went from a fringe prospect to the 15th pick in the WNBA draft after her EuroCup Final Four heroics.
Thursday night was just another game for Carrera Quintana who’s Valencia was taking on EuroLeague finalists Avenida in game one of the Spanish Playoff Finals.
Carrera Quintana came off the bench to score 19 points and 7 rebounds as Valencia took a 67-64 overtime victory away at Avenida. It was high drama as Avenida held the lead late in the regulation, but Carrera Quintana’s free throw shooting once again was crucial to help send the game to extras.
It would be Carrera Quintana again in the dying seconds of OT who rolled to the rim, received a perfect bounce pass and scored the layup, through contact before making the and-one to clinch game one for Valencia.
The potentially decisive game two will be held on Sunday 2nd May in Valencia.
Training camp starts up as teams make cuts in WNBA
The WNBA season opener is just two weeks away, as training camp started this week in America.
Such is the incredibly tough job of making one of the 144 roster spots in the WNBA several prospects and seasoned veterans have been cut by teams trying to get their rosters down to the maximum allowed 12 players, although general managers can get creative and “stash” players for a season, meaning they won’t play but the clubs will retain their rights moving forward.
A number of players from around the league have already been cut from training contracts, for example the Dallas Wings waivedTori Jarosz and Amy Okonkwo, whilst Los Angeles waived Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Minnesota waived Lexie Brown who was immediately picked up by Chicago Sky.
Atlanta Dream will take on Minnesota Lynx in a scrimmage on Saturday 1st May as things step up a gear in preparation for the WNBA season commencing.
Raquel Carrera Quintana will not be joining the Atlanta Dream in 2021 as she is hoping to make the Spanish team for the Olympics and Eurobasket this summer.
Nottingham Wildcats 85-74 Newcastle Eagles 24/04/21 Nottingham
Manchester Met Mystics 69 – 51 Caledonia Pride 24/04/21 Manchester
Oaklands Wolves 54 – 74 Durham Palatinates 24/04/21 Hitchin
London Lions 80 – 84 Leicester Riders 24/04/2021London
Newcastle Eagles 60 – 86 Manchester Met Mystics 25/04/2021 Newcastle
Nottingham Wildcats 58 – 69 Durham Palatinates 25/04/2021 Nottingham
Oaklands Wolves 85 – 71 Caledonia Pride 25/04/2021 Hitchin
Essex Rebels 82 – 53 Cardiff Met Archers 25/04/2021 Chelmsford
Leicester Riders 64 – 58 Sevenoaks Suns 28/04/2021 Loughborough
Oaklands Wolves 48 – 56 Nottingham Wildcats 28/04/2021 Hitchin
Durham Palatinates 59 – 114 London Lions 28/04/2021 Durham
Caledonia Pride 61 – 75 Sevenoaks Suns 28/04/2021 Edinburgh
Cardiff Met Archers 60-73 Loughborough Riders 24/04/2021 – Cardiff
BA London Lions II 62-70 Team Solent Kestrels 24/04/2021 – London
Ipswich 67-54 CoLA Southwark Pride 24/04/2021 – Ipswich
Worcester Wolves 76-71 Nottingham Trent University 24/04/2021 – Worcester
Reading Rockets 60-46 Thames Valley Cavaliers 25/04/2021 – Reading
UMMC Ekaterinburg 90 – 71 Dynamo Kursk – 27/4/2021- Russia
Perfumeria Avenida 64 – 67 Valencia – 29/4/2021 – Spain
Venezia 78 – 66 Bolgna – 29/4/2021 – Italy
Schio 60 – 54 Ragusa – 30/4/2021 – Italy