Thursday, November 6, 2008

Euroleague 4/2008 - Venice 81, Villeneuve d'Ascq 63

You can't say Izi isn't working hard.

I just found out this morning about this Euroleague game that took place on Wednesday . Normally, I keep up with what's going on around the world but I had a lot of difficulty finding out news about Iziane in France. I would search for "Villeneuve d'Ascq" and "Villeneuve d'Ascq Marques" but get a paucity of results.

When I was clued in on a Euroleague game that had taken place yesterday, I found out the problem. The Euroleague was calling this team "ESB Lille Metropole", which has nothing (in spelling) to do with "Villeneuve d'Ascq". It seems the full name of Iziane Castro Marques's new team is "Entente Sportive Basket Villeneuve d'Ascq Lille Métropole" which can go under the following names and initials:

Entente Sportive Basket Villeneuve d'Ascq Lille Métropole
Entente Sportive Basket Lille Métropole
"ESV Lille Metropole"
Villeneuve d'Ascq

Good grief. No matter what you call them, they were 0-3 in the Euroleague coming into the game against Venice.
Venice was undefeated in Group B - even CSKA Moscow was only 3-1 - and Venice upped its record to 4-0 in Group B with a 81-63 win over (insert given choice from column above). No matter what you call them, Villeneuve d'Ascq has fallen to 0-4 in Euroleague play and things are starting to look desperate.

The game writeup is here. The boxscore is here. There is a small gallery of pictures attached which you can view on your own. (I'll attach one to the main article later this afternoon.)

Venice came right out of the gate with a 9-0 run to start the first quarter, but Villeneuve d'Ascq marched right back to close the game to within one point, 21-20, at the end of the first quarter. Venice extended its lead to 37-31, and felt confident going into halftime.

In front of 1300 spectators at home, Villeneuve d'Ascq began to battle back. They fought back hard, and managed to eclipse Venice, taking a six point lead at one time in the third quarter, 49-43. They took another six point lead, 53-47, but Venice closed out the third quarter with a 7-0 run to lead 54-43 after three quarters.

And then, as French newspaper La Voix du Nord puts it, "...then the Venetian blind was dropped." Venice outscored the home team 27-10 in the final quarter. As one French website sarcastically put it, "(Villeneuve d'Ascq) gave everything they had...for thirty minutes."

Venice outshot Villeneuve d'Ascq 52 percent to 43 percent. Furthermore, Venice went 8 for 16 behind the arc, adding to the damage. Venice won the battle of both offensive rebounding and total rebounding. They only had one fewer free throw than Villeneuve d'Ascq and only one more turnover. There was just nowhere in the boxscore for Villeneuve d'Ascq to squeeze out a win.

French media praised Iziane Castro Marques's talent, even if they couldn't identify who she was. (Take a look at this translated lineup. That ain't Izi. Izi wears #4. #9 is Laurie Datchy, who doesn't look at all like Izi.)

Iziane Castro Marques would lead all Villeneuve d'Ascq players with 16 points and four rebounds. She wasn't the top performer however - it took 22 shots for Izi to get 16 points, and trust me, the Atlanta Dream should be well aware of Izi's inefficient shooting. The player for Villeneuve d'Ascq was Florence Lepron, with 14 points (on 50 percent shooting) and eight rebounds. Jolene Anderson, a rookie for the Connecticut Sun this year, did not play.

Simona Ballardini would lead Venice with 27 points. Daliborka Jokic would score 16 points and Mery Andrade would had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Vanessa Hayden would score nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes of play. Hayden was a center for the Minnesota Lynx this year.

(You should read her Wikipedia article. Interesting stuff. Did you know she had a collection of 200 teddy bears? The fascinating things you can learn when following international basketball.)

Abdou N'Diaye, the coach of Villeneuve d'Ascq, was pessimistic about his clubs Euroleague chances. "Go to the quarter finals? We will not sell dreams when we don't have the means." However, with the top four teams in each group going to the next round, there's no need for Villeneuve d'Ascq to give up just yet.

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