Thursday, February 5, 2009
Even at home, Ibiza had a tough hill to climb during the Eurocup's "Sweet Sixteen", or the "8th Finals": they would not only have to beat visiting fellow Liga Feminina team San Jose, but they would have to beat them by at least five points. Ibiza got off to a great start, but fell short in the end 72-70 in front of an announced crowd of 500 spectators.
The 8th finals were "best of two" series, where the team that scores the greatest number of points over the two games wins. Ibiza lost the first game on the road 60-56, so an ordinary win just wouldn't do.
The box score and play-by-play are available here.
In the first quarter, down 5-4, Ibiza went on a 14-0 run to take an 18-5 lead, but San Jose answered with a 9-0 run and Ibiza only led by six, 20-14, after the end of the first 10 minutes. San Jose managed to tie the game in the second quarter, but it looked hopeful for Ibiza as Ibiza led 42-35 at halftime.
Even though Ibiza was up 47-37 with 9:44 to go in the third quarter, Ibiza marched back to tie the game with and Kimberly Butler hit two free throws to put San Jose up 51-49 with 5:56 left. Ibiza wrestled the led back, but only led by two (63-61) at the end of the third quarter.
With the game tied 64-64 with 7:06 left, Ibiza scored the next six points and led 70-64 with 3:21 to go. If they could hold on to their six-point lead, they could advance to the Eurocup quarter-finals. Unfortunately, Iziba would commit four fouls in the last three minutes of the game, two by Sancho Lyttle. San Jose would score the last eight points of the game and Ibiza could only watch as the victory slipped out of their hands.
San Jose was more accurate with the free throw by a factor of 52 percent to 47 percent. Ibiza, however, won the battle of rebounds, 32-33. They hit 10 of 12 of their free throws and turned the ball over 22 times to San Jose's 19. It was a close game all around.
Leading for Ibiza was future Atlanta Dream player Sancho Lyttle, with 16 points and 14 rebounds for the only double-double in the game. Lyttle was 7 for 9 in shooting and hit two of three of her free throws. Alicia Lopez would lead all players with 21 points and Sandra Morales would score 17 points. Shannon Johnson, who was not selected in the Houston Comets dispersal draft this year, would only score eight points and two rebounds for Ibiza.
Maria Revuelto Sanchez Aguilera would lead San Jose with 13 points and six assists. Eshaya Murphy of the Washington Mystics would score 16 points and six rebounds as San Jose's high scorer. Kimberly Butler out of Oregon State would score 13 points for eventual victors San Jose and Shona Thorburn would score 11 points. Thorburn last played for the Seattle Storm in 2007.
I'm sure the FIBA Europe site will post pics soon; we'll just have to wait.