It was a good run for Ashley Walker and Maccabi Ashdod, which made the Israeli D-I Finals for the first time in team history, but it came to an end Monday when Ramat Hasharon defeated Ashdod 64-63 on the road to win the series three games to one. Ashdod clung to a one-point lead and the hopes of extending the series to a deciding fifth game with six seconds left, but Ambrosia Anderson’s layup won the game and the series. Walker had 14 points in the final game, a defensive struggle, while former Storm forward Sheri Sam won the championship with Ramat Hasharon.
Chelsea Newton also saw her overseas season conclude as Liomatic Umbertide was swept by the best team in Italy, Cras Basket Taranto, 2-0 in the quarterfinal round. Taranto won 81-52 at home in Game 1 as Newton scored nine points, and then won 81-61 at Umbertide on Tuesday. Newton had six points and nine boards and former Sacramento teammate Rebekkah Brunson led Taranto with 20 points and eight boards.
Yesterday marked the start of semifinal action in the Russian Superleague playoffs, and Spartak Moscow Region handed Kursk Dynamo a 102-87 defeat. Sue Bird scored 10 points and handed out five assists and Diana Taurasi led all scorers with 20 points. Spartak made 67.2 percent of its two-point shots and piled up 35 points in the third quarter alone. Spartak will go for the sweep Sunday, when the series moves to Kursk.
Half of the Liga Feminina finals is set in Spain. Halcon Avenida swept its way into the championship by defeating Rivas Ecopolis 65-59 on Saturday behind 14 points and eight rebounds from Le’coe Willingham and 68-65 in a thriller on Wednesday. Rivas Ecopolis was unable to connect on a potential tying three at the buzzer, allowing Avenida to advance. Willingham had six points and five rebounds in the deciding game, including a crucial rebound of a missed free throw late in the game.
Because Ros Casares Valencia was busy finishing as the runner-up in the Euroleague Final Four, the other semifinal series did not get underway until yesterday. Ros Casares moved halfway to a showdown against Avenida by defeating Mann Filter Zaragoza 80-64. Jana Vesela contributed six points and four boards and DeLisha Milton-Jones scored a game-high 27. Game 2 will take place on Monday.