We ring in the new week by taking a look at the exploits of the two newest members of the Storm, Suzy Batkovic and Shannon Johnson. Batkovic has actually been mentioned recently in our overseas updates, as her Cras Basket Taranto team knocked off Tanisha Wright’s Tarbes squad in the EuroCup eighth-finals. Batkovic is a teammate of former Storm guard Michelle Greco in Italy, and Taranto crushed CB Feve San Jose in the first game of their aggregate quarterfinal series last week behind 13 points and 13 boards from Batkovic.
Taranto is also atop the league table at 15-4, having defeated Napoli Basket Vomero 56-47 yesterday. Batkovic was quiet in that game, scoring two points and grabbing three boards, but she is averaging 12.1 points and 6.3 rebounds overall for Taranto, which has been dominant after a slow start.
“We had a bit of a rough star,” Batkovic said last week. “We dropped four games in a row. Obviously new team. I came in late, some of the other players came in late after the Olympics and whatever. We hadn’t had time to gel. We pretty much got here and had to play. It was a mess to start with. I don’t think we knew how to dribble a basketball the first four games and then it sort of clicked and since then we’ve pretty much every game. It’s come along well. We’re sitting on top, so that’s always positive.”
Johnson is playing for Ibiza-PDV in Spain with her former Houston teammate Sancho Lyttle. Ibiza is 10-10 on the season after suffering an 86-74 defeat Sunday to the same San Jose team Taranto is facing in the EuroCup. Johnson, who had 19 points in the loss, is averaging 14.8 points and 2.3 assists over the course of the season.
Elsewhere, Kristen O’Neill’s game-winner was the big story over the weekend. O’Neill scored the last of her 26 points 2.9 seconds left as UL Aughnish defeated Tolka Rangers by one point Saturday. The game was the Aughnish’s regular-season finale; the team will now take on Team Montenotte Hotel Cork in the first round of the playoffs after a weekend off.
Spartak had the weekend off from Russian SuperLeague play after playing Game 2 of its Euroleague quarterfinal series Friday in Spain. Dynamo Moscow took the court earlier today, defeating Volgoda-Chevakata 93-66. Janell Burse was excellent for Dynamo, finishing with 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting and a game-high 15 rebounds. Along with Anete Jekabsone-Zogota (29) and Belinda Snell (28), Burse helped combine for 81 points from Dynamo’s top three scorers.
I could start using AutoText on Athinaikos’ results at this point, since every Greek A1 league game has been a victory to date (20 and counting, with six more games on the schedule if my math is correct). This weekend, it was Olympiada Larissas’ turn to play victim in a 75-63 Athinaikos win. Katie Gearlds played just 12 minutes against a lesser foe (teammate LaToya Davis did not play at all), scoring two points and grabbing two boards. Olympiada got 13 points from Daphanie Kennedy, a training-camp invitee of the Storm last spring.