And now the ladies are getting into the act: Below runs the squad of Italy’s Liomatic Umbertide doing the dance craze that’s ubiquitous today, gone tomorrow. Or maybe not. Notable beyond the okay performance by the lionesses: Just check out the “description” field below this YouTube. “Recorded with Harlem Shake Creator HD for iPhone and iPad,” it reads. Good gods, there’s an app now?
In this second piece of a two-part series, sportswriter/commentator Uygar Karaca again considers the EuroChallenge Championship Curse, with special reference to this year’s champions, Beşiktaş; unfortunately for the Eagles, Karaca feels a distressing amount of déjà vu…
In this article, I will try to answer the question as to whether Beşiktaş Milangaz fits into the framework of the “EuroChallenge Championship Curse.” Just to reminder for readers: A few days ago, I compiled a list of teams who won the FIBA EuroChallenge trophy and what happened to them thereafter. Many of these team’s fates were not very nice and unfortunately, one can fairly claim that Beşiktaş is walking a similar path.
Mark another player down as, shall we say, somewhat disillusioned with the European basketball experience … and this one’s coming from the ladies’ side.
Joanna Barnes, currently playing with the PAOK Women’s team, blew off some steam in that favorite 21st-century virtual venting arena, Twitter. Tweeted Barnes this morning:
It’s a good news/bad news day for fans of Spartak Moscow region women’s basketball as announced by FIBA. The Spartak front office has confirmed that returning for 2010-11 will be head coach Pokey Chatman and her entire staff; members of all four champion Spartak squads Sue Bird, Irina Osipova, and Marina Karpunina; Anete Jekabsone-Zogota and Sonja Petrovic. Tatiana Shchegoleva, who took the season off, will return to her former club in 2010.
However, Spartak will be suffering a pair of big minuses, with Diana Taurasi and Sylvia Fowles expected to sign elsewhere; such a void would make “UMMC Ekaterinburg favorites heading into the Russian competitions.” Painful news for Spartak fans, for sure, who have surely earned a steady rivalry with Ekaterinburg, having met them in 2009-10 in the Russian Cup finals, the Euroleague Women semifinals, and the Russian Superleague championship series (Spartak took the former two, while UMMC swept the best-of-five Superleague final.)
Spartak general manager Steve Costalas has promised in the meantime that “the club is negotiating with two other excellent players that will be major contributors if they sign.”
Call it “Must See IPTV.” FIBA TV’s weekly “FIBA Basketball TV” program this week is heavy on the European flavor and spiced heavily with NBA names. Segments to watch include:
00.45: Theo Papaloukas and the rest of the recently-named Euroleague All-Decade Team.
09.00: Several superdupermegastars like Dwyane Wade, Pau Gasol and Sarunas Jasikevicius hype up the 2010 FIBA Worlds (as if they need to).
11.00: Lauren Jackson of Team Australia and the Seattle Storm.
13.15: Wang Zhi Zhi – Remember him? – playing for Bayi Fubang in China’s top domestic league and smoking the competition down there to will his team into the playoffs (no, no video from China).
With an official statement from the host nation’s basketball federation and little more, Team Azerbaijan has been announced as no longer participating in this summer’s European Championship Women Division C.
Armenian Basketball Federation president Grachya Rostomyan stated simply that “Azerbaijani basketball team has rejected” the offer to play in the competition. FIBA Europe had informed the ABF of the decision on Tuesday.
Azerbaijan Basketball Federation executive director Rustam Rustamov later explained that “in November of last year when we appealed for participation in the European championship, we did not know where it will be held. This January, FIBA Europe decided to hold the contest in Yerevan. Taking into account the fact that this is a female team and considering the wishes of the basketball players and their parents, it was decided to reject participation in the contest in the hostile country.”
In the final remaining game of the Euroleague Women quarterfinal playoffs going down tonight between Frisco Sika Brno and Wisla Can-Pack, it’s not a question of whether an improbable run will continue but rather *which* improbable run.
Brno has faced elimination on three occasions in this tournament already, the most recent coming in game two of this round last Wednesday when the Czech side defended homecourt and, oh, what the hell, here’s the entire FIBA Europe writeup:
Frisco Sika Brno earned a decisive game three in their Quarter-Final Play-Off series with Wisla Can-Pack Krakow, handing their Polish opponents an 87-72 loss.
Brno dominated the third and fourth quarters, leading by as many as 24 with five minutes left in the game.
Eva Viteckova led the way for the Czechs with 25 points on five of eight shooting from behind the three-point line. Taj McWilliams added 20 points and nine rebounds.
Some news from the women’s coaching ranks today for you, with one definitive career move and one seat rumored to be getting hotter.
In Lithuania, Team Lithuania/TEO Vilnius coach Rutenis Paulauskas has relinquished both duties in the hopes of taking his career to the men’s game. The national women’s team was a bit disappointing at Eurobasket 2009, managing just a 1-5 showing.
The resignation was announced after Paulauskas met with Mindaugas Balčiūnas, secretary-general of Lithuanian basketball governing body LKF.
According to FIBA, Alba Torrens has no fear.
In a brief profile piece over at the governing body’s official website, the 20-year-old 2009 EuroBasket Women standout is looking forward to meeting the world’s powerhouses in next year’s FIBA Worlds.
“I would like to face the USA because you always want to play a game against a team with that kind of potential,” Torrens is quoted as stating and “It would have a special significance to me to meet Australia because I have never had the opportunity to face them and they are the defending champions.”
As for Spain’s Continental rivals, says Torrens: “We are looking forward to facing the European teams and proving once again that we are at the same level as other teams.”
Torrens achieved the proverbial burst onto the world basketball scene at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with a debut performance of 18 points in 18 minutes against China on day one of the basketball tournament. Torrens was drafted by the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun this year after playing last year with Real Club Celto Indepo.
The draw for the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women will be held today. Team Spain is currently ranked no. 5 in FIBA’s women’s program rankings. Far and away the top three are the US, Russia and Australia, though Spain is just a single point in the scoring system behind no. 4 Brazil.