Sunday, January 25, 2009

Greek Women's A1 16/2008 - Athinaikos 59, Paleo Faliro 58

Paleo Faliro (10-6), which had managed to keep up slightly with a tough Panathinaikos team on Wednesday, had to host the toughest team in Greek women's basketball today - undefeated Athinaikos (16-0). Paleo Faliro came to within one point of dealing Athinaikos its first defeat in league play, but fell short by one point, 59-58.

The box score is here.

Athinaikos must have been surprised by Paleo Faliro as the home team took a 21-12 lead over the visitors after the first quarter. Athinaikos came out tough in the second quarter, but Paleo Faliro would take a 32-27 lead into halftime. By the end of the third quarter, Athinaikos had caught up with Paleo Faliro and led 47-45.

So what happened in that exciting fourth quarter? Was it a last-minute basket at the buzzer? Did Athinaikos score a pair of critical free throws? We'll never know. The Greek media records only very abbreviated boxscores, and never any play-by-play. It appears that women's basketball has no advocates in Greece, at least not in the Greek media.

Athinaikos outscored Paleo Faliro at a rate of 41 percent to 35 percent, with Paleo Faliro taking 54 shots and Athinaikos taking 48 shots. Both teams were effectively even in rebounding on both the offensive and defensive sides. Paleo Faliro turned the ball over 16 times and Athinaikos turned the ball over 13 times. Both teams went to the free throw line with great regularity - Paleo Faliro went 16-for-21, and Athinaikos shot 15-for-29. Clearly, Paleo Faliro shouldn't have sent the best team in the Greek Women's A1 league to the line so many times, even if they barely hit 50 percent of their free throws.

Paleo Faliro spread the ball around, with only Teana Miller scoring in double digits. Miller scored 14 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. Kristin Haynie scored eight points and six rebounds. Karen Mourd would only score two points in 13 minutes of play.

For Athinaikos, LaToya Davis led all scorers with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Davis graduated from Texas Tech in 2006. Katie Gearlds of the Seattle Storm scored 22 points and six rebounds for the undefeated Athinaikos. Nikol Souli added nine points for the eventual winners.

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