Sunday, April 12, 2009
Estudiantes celebrates after being assured a place in the LFB next year.
The great thing about relegation - the movement of the lowest finishing teams out of the league - is that it makes the games that take place between the worst teams in a league important. Those teams are literally fighting for their future.
This made the most important game in the final week of the regular season of the Liga Feminina the game between Estudiantes (6-20) and Zaragoza (6-20). The two worst teams in the Liga Feminina are relegated to the Liga Feminina 2, and the top two Liga Feminina 2 teams move up. Extrugasa was doomed to relegation. This left room for one more team. The winner of Estudiantes/Zarazoga would be rescued. The loser would be consigned to the lower league. For Nikki Teasley and Estudiantes, it was the outcome they desired as Estudiantes crushed Zaragoza 75-50.
The box score is here. For Mann Filter Zaragoza, a nine-year run in the Liga Feminina had just come to an end. They had made the semifinals twice in those nine years.
The defeat was fairly decisive. Playing on their own home court, Estudiantes took a 19-15 lead after the first quarter - and then held Zaragoza to just eight points in the second quarter - Estudiantes switched from the zone to the man-to-man in mid quarter - leading 37-23 at halftime. Both teams played evenly in the third quarter, with Zaragoza still down 14 at the end of thirty minutes - 54-40. Zaragoza would only score 10 points in the fourth quarter, and the hopes for a comeback were extinguished.
Estudiantes hit 46 percent of its field goals. Zaragoza only hit 30 percent of its field goal attempts. They were doomed. They lost in every aspect of the game to Estudiantes - Estudiantes out-rebounded Zaragoza, they held themselves to just nine turnovers and even thought they went a horrid 12-for-22 at the free throw line, they still made seven more points off free throws than the 5-for-7 Zaragoza.
Brooke Wyckoff: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists.
Elin Eldebrink: 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals.
Nikki Teasley: 6 points, 2 rebounds. Teasley only played 17 minutes.
LaToya Thomas: 21 points, 6 rebounds. Thomas has played for both Detroit and Minnesota of the WNBA in 2008.
Paula Palomares Valiente: 20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals.
LaToya Turner: Zero points, and 7 rebounds with four personal fouls in 23 minutes of play from the Ohio State graduate.