Thursday, November 13, 2008
Kathy Wambe and Cappie Pondexter fight over a ball.
I read an article in French media - can't remember where, sorry - which stated that Ekaterinburg (5-0) was a $6 million team. I couldn't fathom that, since most WNBA teams had $800 K salary caps. You would have to pay WNBA players around 60 times what they get in America! A $40 K rookie would be receiving around $300,000 a season!
Maybe I misunderstood how the "$" symbol was being used. No one can deny that Ekaterinburg is stocked with the big guns of the WNBA and Euroball. And yet somehow, Union Hainaut (2-3) managed to hold Ekaterinburg to within two points in the first 22 minutes before Ekaterinburg pulled away for the win, 85-65.
The game writeup is here. The boxscore is here, and a mini-gallery adjoins it.
It was definitely a close game for the first half. The first quarter ended with both teams tied, and visiting Ekaterinburg only had a four point lead, 39-35, at halftime while playing in front of 2,800 spectators in Valenciennes.
With 7:21 remaining in the third, Union Hainaut was still a bucket away, 42-40. Ekaterinburg then went on a 10-2 run and added 11 points in the fourth quarter. As the writeup states, "Ekaterinburg...had too many weapons."
Overally, Ekaterinburg outscored Union Hainaut 48 percent to 41 percent. They led the rebounding battle, and scored 11 offensive boards compared to Union Hainat's six. Turnovers were even. Both teams shot evenly at the free throw line, and Union Hainaut's six extra one-pointers couldn't make up the difference.
So how did Union Hainaut do? Only three players scored in double figures. Bernadette Ngoyisa scored 17 points and eight rebounds - but also had six turnovers. Sabrina Palie was the real player of the game for Union Hainaut, with 14 points and four steals.
Tiffany Stansbury didn't play at all - I wonder why. Chioma Nnamaka played 26 minutes but only scored four points, all on free throws, and had five rebounds.
As for Ekaterinburg? Hell, Ekaterinburg is a WNBA All-Star team! Let's list the names you're sure to know:
Deanna Nolan: 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
Penny Taylor: 6 points, 3 rebounds
Sandrine Gruda: 8 points, 5 rebounds
Cappie Pondexter: 5 points, 4 rebounds
Asjha Jones: 10 points and 8 rebounds - and only 27 minutes of play
Only one player had more than 30 minutes, and that was Gruda. The stars were Agnieszka Bibrzyckawith 23 points, Svetlana Abrosimova with 14 points, and Maria Stepanova with 10 points and eight rebounds of her own. Stepanova, the best known Russian player in Russia, walked away from her CSKA Moscow club to join up with the Ekaterinburg All-Stars.
Even though this was a loss for Union Hainaut, they should be proud that they held their own against Ekaterinburg for so long. Right now, Union Hainaut is in fifth place in Group C, but if they keep playing like that they might sneak into the next round.