The champion of the continent will be crowned this week. The EuroLeague Final Eight, a new format beginning this season after years of the more familiar Final Four, tips off Wednesday in Istanbul. The last eight teams standing have been divided into two groups and will play round-robin games Wednesday through Friday to determine placement. After a day off, the top teams in each group meet Sunday for the EuroLeague title and so on and so forth.
The Storm’s ties to the EuroLeague have all been concentrated in Group B, where UMMC Ekaterinburg (Sue Bird and Svetlana Abrosimova), Ros Casares Valencia (Lauren Jackson, Ann Wauters and Jana Vesela) and Wisla Can-Pack Krakow (Ewelina Kobryn) will all match up this week. In fact, UMMC Ekaterinburg and Ros Casares Valencia will play on Wednesday.
Ekaterinburg was able to take the week off to prepare for the Final Eight with a mini-camp. Abrosimova offers fans a take on her teammates on FIBAEurope.com, including the observation that Bird “always keeps us updated on the coolest apps and teaches us how to use them!”
Ros Casares was in action Friday to wrap up an undefeated Liga Feminina regular season with a win over Soller Bon Dia, 96-61. Isabelle Yacoubou led the team with 20 points off the bench. Wauters had 10 points and five boards, Jackson had eight points and four steals and Vesela added two points.
In Poland, Wisla swept LKS Lodz Siemens 2-0 in the opening round of the PLKK Playoffs. Kobryn had 12 points on perfect 6-for-6 shooting in the opener as Wisla romped, 109-44. Magdalena Leciejewska put up 21 points and 18 rebounds. For reasons that I can’t entirely determine, LKS Lodz did not show up for Game 2, which was awarded to Krakow by forfeit.
Last Thursday in Israel was the finals of the Israeli Cup. Storm newcomer Alysha Clark helped lead Ramat Hasharon to the title game, but Hasharon fell there to Maccabi Ashdod, 63-50. Tamera Young had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Ashdod to victory. Clark scored eight points and teammate Jia Perkins had 21.