Thursday, December 18, 2008
For Villeneuve d'Ascq (3-7), their Euroleague season only turned around when they picked up Iziane Castro Marques. They had dreams of possibly sneaking into fourth place into Group B - and therefore, the second round - or at least not finishing last.
But it was too little, too late. Weeks before, Villeneuve d'Ascq was mathematically eliminated from further playoff competition and at Riga (4-6), a late Riga run would give Riga a 77-70 win at home, locking Villeneuve d'Ascq into last place in Group C.
The box score is here. A game writeup can be found here.
Villeneuve d'Ascq actually did a fairly good job in the first three quarters: they led 22-14 after the first quarter and held off a Riga comeback, taking a 36-34 lead into halftime. Both teams played evenly in the third quarter and in front of 300 Latvian spectators, Villeneuve d'Ascq held on to a 45-43 lead.
Villeneuve d'Ascq held on to a 60-55 lead with 8:26 to go...and then the unthinkable happened. Riga went on a 14-0 run, and with 5:01 left, Riga was suddenly up 69-60. Villeneuve d'Ascq never got closer than five points to Riga for the rest of the game.
Shooting was fairly even - 44 percent for Villeneuve d'Ascq, 42 percent for Riga. However, Riga picked up twenty offensive rebounds. Iziane Castro Marques had something to say about that:
"TTT (Riga) played well today, they put some pressure on us and we lost the battle for rebounds. We had won five games in a row but today our winning streak came to an end." Riga's dominating rebounding made up for turning the ball over 16 times. Riga also went to the free throw line 14 times to Villeneuve d'Ascq's eight, with each team missing a pair of gimmes.
Riga's leading scorer was Tatyana Troina, with 26 points. Essense Carson - a guard/forward for the New York Liberty last year - scored 11 points for Riga. A pair of Riga players, Ieva Kublina and Aija Brumerman, had 11 and 10 rebounds respectively for Riga.
For Villeneuve d'Ascq, Geraldine Robert's performance was judged the best, with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Fatua Sacko would score 26 points and seven rebounds for the visitors and Laurie Datchy would score 11 points. Iziane Castro Marques would score only nine poitns in 21 minutes of play and Jolene Anderson would score zero points in 19 minutes of play.
As I'm at work, I'll attach the pics later.