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Author Topic: ¶ Women Basketball Worldwide Stories & Free Comments • Del Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres  (Read 394551 times)
womenbball
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« Reply #20 on: Jul 01, 2012, 12:15:22 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

OQTW – Veterans and rising stars dominate Day 2

Priceless veteran experience and youthful exuberance reigned supreme on an intriguing and entertaining day two in the Turkish capital.

Korea reached the quarter-finals in Group C along with Croatia after a 71-65 success against Mozambique but the African side beautifully encapsulated the enjoyment of watching both players in the twilight of their respective careers and others only just starting to truly arrive on the big stage.

Clarisse Machanguana will celebrate her 40th birthday next year but was full of energy and terrific plays for the second day in a row while the future of the Mozambique frontcourt looks safe with 21 year old Leia Dongue claiming a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Argentina has a wealth of talented young players rising to prominence but it was the expert hands of 36 year old Carolina Sanchez which came up with the play of the game against New Zealand.

She grabbed the most precious rebound of her entire career during the closing stages of a nerve-shredding 54-51 victory to help her team into the quarter-finals and keep their Olympic dreams alive.

However, she was also given great support on the glass by 20 year old Agostina Burani who secured 10 precious rebounds in a hard fought game and Argentina will now fight it out for top spot in Group B with Czech Republic.




Elsewhere on day two, there was mixed fortune for debutantes Japan and France with the former crashing to a disappointing 65-49 loss against Turkey who booked their quarter-final place in front of jubilant home supporters.

France meanwhile has one foot in the last eight after a hard fought 56-47 win against Canada who should also advance thanks to their opening day demolition of under-strength Mali.

FIBA




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Kenyan-fan
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« Reply #19 on: Jun 25, 2012, 07:58:29 PM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Tragedy touches women’s basketball in Kenya

It’s ever so easy to get caught up in the excitement of a summer which boasts so many fascinating and exciting tournaments or perhaps to focus far too closely on the big names and elite level teams around the globe.
 
However, just occasionally, it probably does us all some good to actually reflect on how lucky we are to have this wonderful game and close-knit women’s basketball family as part of our lives.
 
Even more so when you find out about the devastating death of a young female baller who loved the sport so very much but will sadly never get to bounce another ball or get to watch any big tournaments.
 
I never knew Diana Akinyi but when reading about her death via Brian Ayieko at the excellent www.basket-in-africa.blogspot.co.uk, it was quite emotional to think of just how sad the circumstances were and the impact this has had on the entire basketball community in Kenya.
 
In what has since been dubbed the ‘Mlolongo Tragedy’, a building collapsed just over a week ago in Kenya and while 15 people survived after sustaining serious injuries, Akinyi was unfortunately one of four people who were killed in the incident.
 
She had previously played her basketball in the MTN Basketball League in Uganda with Kampala International University before returning home to play for Kenya Polytechnic or simply ‘The Poly’ as the team is affectionately known.
 
Unsurprisingly, an emotional Victor Mak’Osewe who is head coach of the team told michezoafrika.com that Akinyi would be sorely missed.

“She was one of the best defensive players and we shall really miss her,” he said.

“She was full of life, a leader and an experienced girl in the team.
 
“Her sudden death is a big blow not only to our team but to the Kenya Basketball family,” Mak'Osewe added.
 
The other reason this is a tragedy striking at the very heart of the basketball community is that her brother Davidson Olouch is also a baller who plays in the Kenyan capital.
 
I had hoped when I wrote only a few weeks ago about Cameroon guard Ramses Lonlack and the camaraderie which exists between African basketball nations that it wouldn’t be re-enforced in this very painful context.



 
This tragic loss isn’t just about Kenyan or African basketball. It’s one which certainly won't go unrecognised by the women's basketball family right around the globe – of that you can be absolutely certain.
 
Therefore I would just like to end this short but hopefully thought provoking column by offering Davidson and his family my sincere condolences and by adding that I hope basketball can in some part give him the comfort and strength to get through losing his sister who shared his passion for the sport.
 
Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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ala_bama
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« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2012, 05:39:19 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Olympic draw whets the appetite for Ankara, not just London

Reacting to the Women’s Olympic draw with five spots still to be decided at this juncture feels a little like fumbling around in the dark if I’m honest.
 
I guess there are a few things which can be teased out in this post-draw aftermath though, including the likelihood that as with every major tournament, there will be few (if any) ‘easy’ games for anybody.

Well, unless you are the USA of course who surely already have a gold medal in their hands and must simply focus on not allowing it to slip through their fingers due to a lack of hard work or focus.
 
Surely London 2012 will be all about everyone else fighting it out for the other two places on the podium and last week’s draw has done little to convince me otherwise. There will be a monumental battle for silver and bronze.
 
Granted, I could be left with egg on my face if whoever else makes it to the inevitable match-up with Geno Auriemma’s team gets lucky in the final and somehow grabs gold. If that does happen by the way, I would consider it as one of the biggest shocks in Olympic women’s basketball history.
 
I think it was always going to be the case that Russia would draw Great Britain and renew acquaintances after their brutal match-up last summer at EuroBasket Women which was as feisty a game as I have ever witnessed at the elite level.
 
Hideously ugly and ill-tempered, it spilled over into the post-game media conference as Boris Sokolovsky and Tom Maher followed in the footsteps of their respective teams by continuing the rivalry long after the final buzzer had sounded.
 
So, if there is one game I would want to see this summer it’s when these two teams go up against each other once more. Seriously, Wednesday 1 August - put it in your diary. It won’t be pretty by any means but I think Russia has a point to prove after they were almost victims of a relative giant-killing last year as they just scraped home.
 
It was very interesting that the immediate reaction of Sokolovsky after the draw was to instil Great Britain as one of the favourites and danger teams. This is something which perhaps stretches credibility to the absolute limit (and even requires a brief suspension of reality) but his comment does at least make sense in the context of the history between both teams.
 
The host nation have indeed improved and with a top quality coach like Maher at the helm, they have made gigantic strides but I don’t think being drawn in the tougher of the two pools suits them at all.
 
You really have to love the no-nonsense and phlegmatic Maher by the way. A coach who tells it like it is (and none more so than in that infamous postgame conference last summer) and didn’t fail to deliver with a typically wonderful reaction to the draw explaining: “In the end, you just have to win some games.” Well quite.
 
Sokolovsky, meanwhile, was also in the news late last week when he also dropped a sizeable bomb by leaving Svetlana Abrosimova out of his 20-player roster. I mean the national team captain not making the final 12 would have been a shock but this? It had me scanning along the names thinking there must have been a mistake. More of that for another day perhaps!
 
Like I said at the outset, there is so much still to be decided until we reach the stage where five teams leave Turkish soil in early July clutching their precious tickets to London. The general assumption is that France, Czech Republic and Turkey are best placed to make it to the British capital and I wouldn’t disagree too much with that assessment. But, until ‘A5’ and ‘B6’ are replaced in the schedule with actual team names, it’s tough to undertake a wholesome analysis of what lies in wait.
 
Outside of the Great Britain and Russia game, I think scanning down the fixtures at this stage, Australia will be the team to watch with most interest. In what will be a potential final hurrah for the likes of the legendary Lauren Jackson and with the Opals not being able to utilise the injured Penny Taylor, it is shaping up to be a real challenge for them.
 



Early match-ups with both Russia and Brazil could give an early indication as to whether they can keep their gold medal dream alive after being the bridesmaid rather than the bride so many times before.
 
Liz Cambage incidentally is one player I am banking on stepping up for Australia and I can’t wait to see her make her Olympic debut. In fact, she is the player I am looking forward to seeing more than any other on this wonderful stage.
 
So, while the 2012 Olympic draw is in the books and has done its job in whetting the appetite, I guess we will only be satisfied when the aeroplane wheels lift up heading out of Ankara and we can pour over the exciting detail of the full schedule.

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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primer-coach
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« Reply #17 on: Apr 27, 2012, 05:39:19 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Another Global Focus for the Next 2012 WNBA Draft

As the dust settles on the 2012 WNBA draft, there’s little doubt internet search engines will have seen some serious action during the past week with fans punching in the names of the five non-American players selected in an attempt to bone-up their knowledge of the quintet.
 
Well actually, in the end it was a quartet since as has happened occasionally down the years, the draft process was subject to a slight hiccup when there was confusion as to the eligibility of a player.
 
This time it was French national team powerhouse Isabelle Yacoubou, a third round pick by current Eastern Conference champions Atlanta Dream, who was determined too old to be considered as a legitimate draft pick.
 
I have to admit that upon hearing the news my immediate reaction was that maybe there should have been a little more internet search engine usage ahead of the draft, primarily checking out her details but I guess that these things sometimes happen.
 
So, what are the prospects of those (legitimate) non-USA national WNBA draftees?
 
Damiris Dantas (Brazil)
The last pick of the first round, the Brazilian centre represents a hugely exciting choice for the Minnesota Lynx who will be able to watch the player compete at this summer’s Olympic Games in London.
 
Dantas was named MVP at the FIBA U19 World Championship last year and she is the one player who Brazil are pinning their hopes on to lead the next generation which will play from September of this year with primarily one thing in mind – delivering a medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

She certainly has the potential to be the leader for the team in four years with her power and strength inside already establishing her as an essential key player for the current senior team after incredibly impressive displays at the FIBA Americas Championship and Pan-American games last summer.
 
However, her prominence in terms of the Brazilian national team and the significance the Federation is quite rightly placing on 2016 has led some people to question whether there is any real chance Dantas would play in the WNBA during the next few summers – even if she was considered as being mature enough and ready to do so.
 
She has just finished her first season playing with Real Celta Vigo of Spain and while the team struggled in Liga Femenina, Dantas posted nice numbers. She looks to be developing into the type of player who is already rock solid in the paint and as her post moves begin to refine with time, she could potentially become a genuine world class centre.

Quite handy for Brazilian fans once Erika De Souza hangs up her basketball shoes and it will be interesting to see if she can find as much WNBA time and success as her frontcourt national team colleague.

Farhiya Abdi (Sweden)
A year ago, Farhiya Abdi wasn’t even a name widely known in European basketball circles other than by those who had closely followed the youth national team circuit and of course fans of women’s basketball in her homeland who had watched her tear it up in a big way.
 
Being drafted as the first pick of the second round by the Los Angeles Sparks completes a sensational 12 months having made the move to Frisco Brno last summer where she spent her rookie EuroLeague Women season. She also impressed for Sweden at the U20 European Championships and was nominated for the FIBA Europe Young Player Of The Year Award.
 
Her next major challenge is to try and make a successful transition to the senior national team as they try to qualify for EuroBasket Women 2013 in France in coming months. She is likely to be one of the main driving forces of an exciting Swedish side in coming years but still has a long way to go to be considered as the finished product.
 
She showed a lot of character with Brno last season in what was a tough campaign – playing over 30 minutes per game despite being just 19 years old. Her numbers weren’t as efficient as she would have liked but without a lot of options offensively, she probably had to force things a little which is never ideal and inevitably impacted on her shooting percentages.
 
Relatively dynamic on the wing, the small forward has a nice skill-set, can rebound well and I see the real test being the development of her shot selection in coming years and also consistency in her three-point shot.
 
Throughout her career she has been a reference player for her respective clubs and if she steps up to a deeper team, she will have to adapt to no longer being expected to be a high volume player in terms of minutes or executing offensively.
  
Nika Baric (Slovenia)
The point guard has been a phenomenon since she stepped onto the court and it’s little wonder she has been nicknamed the ‘female Ricky Rubio’. Before you take a look down her resume as a young player, you should prepare for your jaw to drop in astonishment.
 
This bona-fide ‘basketball wonder-kid’ had barely finished playing with toys when she first pulled a Slovenia vest during the summer of 2005 at the U16 Division B European Championships. She wasn't even a teenager - the guard treaded the boards for her country at a staggering 12 years of age.
 
Then as her incredible teenage journey continued, she stepped out for Slovenia at senior level aged just 15, was crowned an All Star MVP in her home country and last summer, she finished second top scorer for her country in their European Championship Division B campaign at the age of 16 having also been named MVP at U18 level.

To have made such an impression at a young age takes a special kind of talent, not just in terms of ability but mental toughness and ambitious drive, especially when it means a ‘child-star' missing out on many of the regular activities her peers might have been enjoying.
 
Things inevitably slowed down in terms of productivity when she signed for four-time EuroLeague Women winners Sparta&K Moscow Region Vidnoje last summer but playing alongside Becky Hammon and Seimone Augustus means her continued development certainly isn’t slowing down.
 
She has superb court vision, is a very intelligent young player and is already showing signs of being able to make smart decisions and successfully run a high level team. Rarely makes bad passes or over dribbles but she must now make herself more of an outside threat in years to come.
 
I expect big things from her in coming years and she could be a big hit in the WNBA (if she gets permission from Sparta&K to play). The Minnesota Lynx have made a great choice with Baric who will soon be in action with the Slovenian national team as they try to qualify for EuroBasket Women next year.
  
Astan Dabo (Mali)
Touted as the ‘next big thing’ (almost literally) when it comes to the Mali national team, the teenager has shown glimpses of her huge potential having dipped her toes in the water of serious international competition by way of the 2010 FIBA World Championship and last summer’s Afrobasket.
 
Unlike fellow European picks Abdi and Baric, the powerful Dabo (who was the only African player to be picked) has yet to play in elite level club competition having spent the season in the second tier of French basketball with Reims Basket.
 
But, that could all be about to change with rumours abound that she may step up to the top French league during the summer.  Certainly her profile has been raised in the wake of her new draftee status while an improved performance for Mali at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June would also catapult her further into the limelight.
 
By selecting Dabo with the ninth overall pick, it’s clear just how much Mike Thibault and the Connecticut Sun think of her and it could be a pivotal year for her both at club and national team level.




By the end of 2012, fans could have much more to research and mull over with respect to Dabo, but perhaps the best starting point would be to read the latest African Message column by my esteemed fellow writer Julio Chitunda.
 
Interestingly by the way, Dabo lined up against four of her fellow top 10 2012 WNBA draft picks three years ago when she faced Nneka Ogwumike, Shenise Johnson, Samantha Prahalis and LaSondra Barrett.
 
Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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womenbball
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« Reply #16 on: Mar 31, 2012, 12:38:53 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Historic Final Eight prepares to tip off

It’s finally here and it feels absolutely great. Standing in Istanbul on the eve of a historical EuroLeague Women Final Eight, my spine is tingling at the prospect of seeing a line-up which reads as a who’s who of women’s basketball.
 
Changing from a long weekend Final Four format to a five-day festival with eight participants emphasises the uniqueness of EuroLeague Women. Specifically, the vast amount of money invested in the pursuit of success and also the eclectic mix of teams, players and their respective supporters who will descend from each corner of Europe to fight it out for the coveted title.
 
Perhaps not surprisingly, my status as a so-called EuroLeague Women expert means I have been bombarded with requests asking me to predict the winner - an almost impossible task. You will have to make your own mind up as to who will succeed Perfumerias Avenida but to help you decide, here's a preview of the tournament – exclusively for Women’s Basketball Worldwide at FIBA.com!
 
Galatasaray Medical Park (Turkey)
Being EuroLeague Women hosts has proven a real curse in recent years but I think that curse is outweighed ten-fold by the charm brought by competition darling Diana Taurasi who helped Sparta&K win four titles in a row. The real curse for Galatasaray has been injuries and it has exposed their risky strategy of choosing a few stellar talented players over depth. The signature of former Fenerbahce star Taurasi was one of the most seismic events in women’s basketball history and if she twists the knife into her former team Fenerbahce in the Istanbul derby there could be fireworks. But, without the exciting skills of Alba Torrens who had her season ended with an ACL injury, Galatasaray could be missing a real ‘X-factor’player to help DT get the crowd going.

They do have the outstanding Tina Charles who is absolutely sensational under the basket while Epiphanny Prince can score and Ticha Penicheiro will create. The success of the hosts is likely to depend on the respective contributions of the supporting players including the likes of Ivanka Matic and the Turkish national team duo of point guard Isil Alben and Bahar Caglar. Meanwhile they were recently boosted by a memorable Cup win over fierce city rivals Fenerbahce.
 
Fenerbahce SK (Turkey)
As the only unbeaten team in EuroLeague Women, Fenerbahce are naturally one of the frontrunners and many people feel it will all come down to what happens in the derby game with Galatasaray although this is perhaps both foolish and disrespectful to Schio and Rivas.  They have a good base with two of the most talented Turkish players in effervescent point-guard Birsel Vardarli and legendary centre Nevriye Yilmaz. In terms of the frontcourt, Yilmaz is complimented by the machine-like efficiency of Ivana Matovic and the reliability and cameo contributions of Latvian centre Zane Tamane and naturalised Turkish forward Kristen Nevlin.
 
The biggest strength of Fenerbahce is most definitely what they have on the wings in Penny Taylor and Angel McCoughtry, two players both capable of MVP performances and real game-changers. Esmeral Tuncluer and Elina Babkina support Vardarli in the playmaker spots and overall there are few identifiable weaknesses. Coach George Dikeoulakos has felt the heat after losing the Turkish Cup and despite his proud EuroLeague Women record this season, that will all mean nothing if they don’t beat Galatasaray this time – such is life coaching in the white hot intensity of Istanbul!
 
Rivas Ecopolis (Spain)
A team with absolutely nothing to lose, the Madrid club can relax and play knowing that they could sneak up on the rails with all eyes on the big Istanbul derby and people talking about Schio after they knocked out defending champions Perfumerias Avenida. Having had trouble in Liga Femenina, a return to EuroLeague Women action will be a relief and they will be able to play freely and without the burden of expectation. Their biggest issue will be finding variety on offence since a huge percentage of plays go through American duo Essence Carson and specifically Asjha Jones who is averaging a near season double-double and is a regular target of the double-team inside.
 
What Rivas do have is real desire and a solid Spanish spine to their team in Anna Cruz who is the ultimate ‘glue’ player, veteran guard Elisa Aguilar who knows what is required, centre Laura Nichols who can match up well on defensive assignments and young Vega Gimeno. They also have a legend in Amaya Valdemoro of course although serious injury has blighted her year. One player who if given an opportunity could be a revelation is Tijana Krivacevic who arrived mid-season from Sopron and I have really liked the contribution of centre Sandra Pirsic.
 
Beretta-Famila Schio (Italy)
The Italians knocked out Salamanca to great acclaim and that alone will keep their group rivals on their toes. Perhaps their new found momentum could continue on Turkish soil and they have a nice simplistic look about them although a lack of depth could prove costly if health becomes an issue. They have the combo skills of Israeli guard Liron Cohen who can always explode at any time while the veteran Italian pairing of Laura Macchi and Raffaella Masciadri are both capable of providing an inside-outside threat. Cheryl Ford and Janel McCarville form a fearsome duo in the paint and they are always capable of controlling the glass. Perhaps the real ‘X-factor’ will be whether Schio shoot the ball well from three-point range. If they do, they could just make another big splash.
 
Ros Casares (Spain)
Before their surprise Copa Del Reina loss to Perfumerias Avenida, Ros Casares were emerging as favourites to finish top of the podium in Istanbul. Despite that loss, I still think their quality and depth mean they must have a super chance of ensuring the title remains in Spain and they most certainly can take it from their great domestic rivals. Both the backcourt and frontcourt are stacked and they certainly have an embarrassment of riches to call upon including some real legends of the women’s game in the form of Australian superstar Lauren Jackson and Ann Wauters. The former has yet to really hit the heights after arguably struggling to find her most effective role while the latter has been the most consistent factor all season long.
 
Czech Republic forward Jana Vesela and French centre Isabelle Yacoubou both provide power in the paint and efficiency on the glass while Sancho Lyttle won the title last year and adds fantastic athleticism. Laia Palau is as tough as they come in the women’s game while Sylvia Dominguez also knows what winning the title feels like having grabbed a winners medal in Ekat last year. They have lots of firepower with Shay Murphy around and of course the hugely exciting Maya Moore on the wings with Jackson. If the mentality is right and they start well, they could be a train which is difficult to slow down.
 
UMMC Ekaterinburg (Russia)
Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, the failure of Ekat to realise their potential and deliver against eye-popping levels of investment has been made worse by the fact their arch rivals in Moscow have achieved so much success. At least when they were hosts last year they didn’t have to suffer Sparta&K rubbing their noses into the dirt with a fifth straight title. Ironically, Ekat are always one of the two big favourites but after a turbulent and at times inconsistent season blighted by some injuries, they could benefit from having slightly less pressure on their shoulders this year. In fact, I have a sneaky feeling that if healthy and critically if the backcourt can fire on all cylinders, then they can do it.  
 
They have the quality and the depth for this new format. The injury to Anete Jekabsone was a blow in terms of scoring power but they have drafted in Israel points machine Shay Doron as a replacement off the bench.  Ekat’s chances are most likely to be in the hands of the irrepressible Sue Bird who will pull the strings and they have great defensive intensity in Olga Arteshina, Sandra Linkeviciene, Svetlana Abrosimova and Hana Horakova. If Deanna Nolan shoots the ball well this will be a big bonus and there’s little doubt the frontcourt is one of the best around. They have an unbelievable rotation including Sandrine Gruda, Candace Parker, Yelena Leuchanka, Maria Stepanova and Tatiana Vidmer.  They have to really prove themselves against the big teams away from the comfort of their home floor and also have to find the shots and plays to break down zone defences effectively.
 
Sparta&K Moscow Region Vidnoje (Russia)
Bidding to reach a mind-boggling sixth straight EuroLeague Women final, the most successful club in the history of the competition received a huge boost ahead of their arrival in Istanbul after Pokey Chatman agreed to hold on to the coaching reins for another season. Having secured a breathtaking four titles in a row before finishing as runners-up last year, it would have not seemed the same without the Moscow club around the table. They continually evolve and defy anybody who dares to criticise or write them off.
 
With Seimone Augustus and Candice Dupree they have two of the most productive and dangerous players around and they can be a devastating duo. They have a great mix of experience and youth on their roster. They possess veteran leadership in the form of Jelena Skerovic and the unmistakable Becky Hammon in the backcourt and Russian centre Irina Osipova.  The youth is provided via dynamic Serbian Sonja Petrovic and former FIBA Europe Young Player of The Year Nika Baric. The only disappointment is that Jelena Milovanovic will miss out due to injury. Their biggest attribute is that time and time again, they show their big game mentality by winning close games on a regular basis. Therefore if they are involved in any tight affairs, my money is always on Sparta&K!
 
Wisla Can-Pack (Poland)
With hard-nosed and talented players, a great team ethic, a super coach and some of the noisiest fans around, it’s no surprise the Krakow club made it to Istanbul. Unfortunately they have been pitched into the most difficult of the two groups which means it probably would be considered a surprise if they progress. I love the backcourt of Aussie guard Erin Phillips and Anke De Mondt who won the title last year with Avenida while Paulina Pawlak is a great back-up who gives her all for the team.
 
Ewelina Kobryn leads the team in the frontcourt while in Nicole Powell, they have one of the top performers in the tournament. She offers such a great inside-outside threat and could hold the key. I really like Wisla a lot and they made it to Final Four two seasons ago when nobody expected them to so they love defying the odds. It’s going to be tough for them but they will be highly respected and are more than capable of beating anyone if they play to their full potential and get a little bit of luck. Their ability to dictate tempo and play hard defense will be critical.



 
To summarise the anticipation surrounding this historic first Final Eight, I was so excited I woke up at 5am the day I travelled to Istanbul. My flight wasn’t until 5pm but it was simply wonderful for the first time in 30 years to remember what it felt like as a child when Christmas was approaching.
 
Good luck to all involved both on and off the court - let's get this women's basketball party started!

You can catch all the EuroLeague Women Final Eight action live on FIBATV.

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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