Earlier today, favorites Maccabi Ashdod and Electra Ramat Hasharon both completed 3-1 series victories in the Israeli D-I semifinals to set up a showdown against each other in the finals. Both teams lost Game 1 of the series at home but won three straight times to advance.
Storm forward Ashley Walker led Ashdod, which reached the finals for the first time in its history. Walker had 21 points and 14 rebounds – both game highs – in today’s 63-54 road victory. Meanwhile, Maccabi Ramat Hen fell 71-62 to Ramat Hasharon despite 10 points and 12 rebounds from Camille Little.
Ramat Hasharon will have home-court advantage in the finals, which begin on Thursday. Both teams have been atop the Israeli standings throughout the year, so it should be an excellent matchup.
In yesterday’s Russian Superleague season finale, Spartak Moscow Region went on the road to pick up an impressive 84-70 victory over rival UMMC Ekaterinburg. Sue Bird had a big game for Spartak, scoring 16 points, handing out six assists and knocking down three of her four attempts beyond the arc. Backcourt mate Diana Taurasi poured in 28 points with eight rebounds and five assists and Spartak controlled Ekaterinburg’s American stars. Deanna Nolan, Cappie Pondexter and Candace Parker combined for 27 points while shooting 8-of-21 from the field.
By virtue of winning by more than the eight points that was the margin in UMMC Ekaterinburg’s earlier head-to-head victory, Spartak secured the top seed in the Superleague playoffs and will host Vologda in a quarterfinal matchup. The best-of-three series kicks off on Thursday. Both Spartak and Ekaterinburg were undefeated against everyone but each other during the regular season and will be heavy favorites to meet each other in the Superleague Finals, where Spartak would have home-court advantage.
In Poland, best-of-three quarterfinal series began yesterday. Lotos Gydnia earned an easy 93-70 victory over Leszno in Game 1, getting 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting and four assists from Tanisha Wright. Wisla Can-Pack had to go on the road for Game 1 and, despite getting 24 points and nine boards from Janell Burse, dropped Game 1 83-78 to CCC Polkowice. Iziane Castro Marques added 25 for Wisla, but no other players reached double-figures. Wisla will look to stay alive at home on Wednesday when Game 2s are played.
A battle of new Storm teammates in Spain, where Le’coe Willingham and Halcon Avenida squared off against Jana Vesela and Ros Casares Valencia in a meeting of two of the league’s top teams. Willingham had 14 points and five boards while Vesela scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds, but it was her Ros Casares squad that emerged victorious by a 73-65 final. DeLisha Milton-Jones had 22 points for Ros Casares.
Nice win in Italy for Liomatic Umbertide, which snapped a recent losing streak by blowing out Pool Comense 71-50 on Sunday. Chelsea Newton scored eight points and led an Umbertide defense that limited Comense to 21.6 percent shooting inside the arc. Teammate Ticha Penicheiro contributed 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.