Thursday, October 30, 2008

Euroleague 3/2008 - Union Hainaut 85, Gdynia 82

Vedrana Fonseca of Union Hainaut stares down Katsiaryna Snytsina of Gdynia. What does Katsiaryna have written on her arm?

Who would have thought that Union Hainaut (2-1) would be in second place in Group C after three games? That position was slotted for Ros Casares or Ekaterinburg. Much less, who thought that Lotos PKO BP Gydnia (0-3) would be at the bottom of Group C? But that's the way it stands after a come-from-behind victory by Union Hainaut, 85-82 in Euroleague play.

The writeup is here. The actual boxscore is here, and a gallery can be found on either page.

The game started out with what seemed to be Gdynia taking a strong lead, leading 35-16 after one quarter. According to the writeup, Gdynia led by more than 20 at one time in the game, 45-23. Unfortunately for Gdynik, Union Hainaut went on a 12-0 run to close out the half and the home team was down by 13, 52-39.

I managed to follow the game at work through the live boxscore viewer. Union Hainaut shot 50 percent at the half, but Gdynia shot 72 percent. No wonder they led! They were also outrebounding Union Hainaut 15 to seven and earning three offensive rebounds in the first half.

Then Union Hainaut began to fight back. Sabrina Reghaissia scored the tying basket with 1:52 to go in the third to tie the game at 61-61.

In the fourth quarter, the teams went back and forth, with Union Hainaut taking a 78-75 lead with just 3:56 left. If you read the writeup and the play by play, you'll get two different impressions of the game. The write-up implies an exciting last part of the game, but the last four minutes were a collection of turnovers, steals, bad shooting and unforced errors. Alana Beard of Gdynia turned the ball over once and fouled Reghaissia again, a personal shooting foul that let Reghaissia shoot - and make - three free throws to turn a three point deficit into a six point gap with just 1:05 remaining. After that, all Union Hainaut had to do was to not turn over the ball...too many times, anyway.

Even with Union Hainaut's comeback, Gdynia shot 57 percent from the field compared to Union Hainaut's 48 percent. Union Hainaut's second half rebounding was at least even. Gdynia shot better from the charity stripe; but Union Hainaut only made two fewer free throws.

So what won the game for Union Hainaut? Turnovers. Gdynia coughed up the ball 18 times compared to Union Hainaut's six. That's the potential to make up 12 points or more right there. Union Hainaut was playing at home, and they had a fantastic second half. Combine that with Gdynia not able to get it together in the last four minutes, and Union Hainaut escaped with a win.

Sabrina Reghaissia led Union Hainaut with 21 points. Three other players for Union Hainaut scored in double digits including Chioma Nnamaka with 13 points. Tiffany Stansbury scored a grand total of six points in twenty minutes on the court before earning her fifth and final personal foul, fouling out.

For Gdynia, there were five players scoring double figures. Emilija Podrug led all p alyers with 19 points followed by Ivana Matovic with 16. Alana Beard had 14 points and fouled out literally during the last seconds of the game. Jennifer Fleischer scored a "two billion", playing two minutes and with no other marks for her in the boxscore.

Gdynia had hoped to add Tamika Catchings to their roster, but she suffered an Achilles injury in September. She will not be joining Gdynia until January 12th, but Gdynia might have to hope for a PLKK championship, because it doesn't look like Gdynia's going to make it out of the first round of Euroleague.

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