EuroLeague Women Preview: Wednesday 4 January
MERSIN (EuroLeague Women) – The first match-ups of the new calendar year take place on Wednesday as Mersin turn to a former EuroLeague Women champion in their pursuit of a historic first victory in the competition.
With six defeats to their name, it’s been a fruitless first foray so far, but the tide could be about to change. Mersin have captured livewire guard Danielle Robinson who won the title with ZVVZ USK Prague in 2015 and there is also a place for powerhouse center, Aneika Henry.
Mersin are facing domestic rivals Fenerbahce this week who provided their biggest scalp of 2016-17 so far when they beat the Istanbul giants in the KBSL. The visitors will arrive seeking revenge and also full of confidence after a brilliant 77-55 derby victory last weekend against Galatasaray.
"This kind of match [against Galatasaray] is always valuable to us," reflected Turkey national team guard, Ayse Cora.
"While of course other matches are also very important, the atmosphere of the derby is different.
"It’s a game that is not only won by tactics, since it is also necessary to put forth your heart and fight in such big games.
"I especially appreciated the fans who came to support us and this kind of match was nice for them," she added.
Also in Group A, Jose Hernandez takes his Wisla Can Pack side to Montpellier not knowing whether to laugh or cry at his team’s campaign so far. The Spanish play-caller has been reflecting how you don’t always get what you deserve in EuroLeague Women, having perhaps been fortuitous to have beaten Mersin before the winter break.
"It was our worst game of the season," stated Hernandez.
"We played very good against Kursk, Schio and Fenerbahce and yet we lost those games. Then against Mersin we didn’t play well, but we won it."
Dynamo Kursk will be overwhelming favorites to extend the only unbeaten record in the competition when they entertain CMB Cargo Uni Gyor, ZVVZ USK Prague will be glad to be back on home soil as they look to avoid three straight losses as they welcome Beretta Famila Schio.
In Group B, Tango Bourges are another team looking to end a losing streak as they contemplate facing Hatay, having fallen in their last four outings. Uniqa Sopron lost to Hatay in their last game and will want to bounce back at home to ESBVA-LM, while Perfumerias Avenida will face a seriously stiff test of their unbeaten home record when Nadezhda arrive in Salamanca with Spanish representation in head coach Roberto Iniguez and point guard, Cristina Ouvina.