Most international leagues have now arrived in the semifinal round as we get close to winding down the European season and players returning to the U.S.
The Liga Feminina semifinals are already under way, and Ros Casares Valencia took a 1-0 lead in its best-of-three series against EuroLeague title game opponent Rivas Ecopolis with a 70-61 home win on Saturday. Ann Wauters had 15 points and 11 boards in the victory. Lauren Jackson added eight points and four boards, Storm newcomer Silvia Dominguez had five and Maya Moore led Ros Casares by scoring 17. Game 2 is tomorrow with Game 3, if necessary, on Saturday.
Alysha Clark and Tanisha Wright are squaring off in Israel, where Wright and Elizur Ramla lead Clark and Ramat Hasharon 2-1 in a series where the home team has failed to hold serve yet. That trend will have to continue tomorrow in Ramla if Ramat Hasharon is to extend the series after a huge Game 3 effort by Wright led her team to victory. Wright scored 17 of her game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter and finished the night 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. Clark had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting and six rebounds in the losing effort.
In Russia, UMMC Ekaterinburg cruised to a quarterfinal sweep of Spartak St. Petersburg, winning 72-50 at home and 91-67 Sunday on the road. Ekaterinburg did not need Storm guard Sue Bird, who missed the series after breaking her nose during the EuroLeague Final Eight. Ekaterinburg tips off the semifinals Friday against Nadezhda.
Wisla Can-Pack Krakow, which has been off since the Final Eight, opens the semifinals tomorrow against Energa Torun. The PLKK best-of-five schedule moves much more quickly, with Game 2 scheduled for Thursday and Game 3 on the road Saturday.