Storm G Tanisha Wright had a solid third quarter and her Turkish club even made a splashy three-pointer to tie the game with 3.3 seconds left, but it wasn’t enough to advance out of pool play in the EuroLeague Final Eight. Wright finished with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists for Kayseri Kaski spor in the 58-56 loss to Galatasaray odeabank on Wednesday.
Kayseri (0-3) needed to win by eight points or more in order to advance to the semifinals in the premier overseas tournament. Galatasaray (2-1) plays UMMC Ekaterinburg (3-0) on Friday at 6am PT. UMMC’s Final Eight roster includes WNBA MVPs Diana Taurasi (Phoenix), Candace Parker (Los Angeles) and former Storm centers Ann Wauters and Ewelina Kobryn (Phoenix).
Fenerbahce, led by Angel McCoughrty (Atlanta), plays Tango Bourges in the second semifinal matchup Friday. Bourges is led by French PG Celine Dumerc, who recently signed with Atlanta. Already an international star, it’s Dumerc’s first WNBA season after a long resistance to playing in the league. She could easily challenge any of the incoming NCAA college players for the WNBA rookie of the year award.
But I digress.
The semifinal matchups can be viewed live for $9.99 US. It’s a monthly charge that can be canceled.
Kayseri once led by nine points in the second quarter against Gala on Wednesday. But F Kelsey Bone (New York) popped off the bench for nine consecutive points to help Gala enter the break tied at 26 points apiece.
Wright scored six consecutive points in the third quarter, including a nice layup in transition off a pass from Storm F Camille Little, but turnovers literally killed the momentum after that stretch. Turkish PG Aysegul Gunay nailed a three-pointer off a pass from Wright to tie the score at 56 points apiece with 3.3 seconds left in the game. It was Gunay’s only made basket in the game.
But Gala F Sancho Lyttle (Atlanta) spun off American F Lara Sanders’ defense for a layin with nine-tenths of a second left to essentially win the game. Sanders led Kayseri with 16 points. Bone led all scorers with 21 points and six rebounds while teammate Shavonte Zellous (Indiana) added 13 for Gala.
Overall the game before 500 fans at DIVS Sport Hall wasn’t the best display of basketball. Wright and Sanders combined for 10 of Kayseri’s 20 turnovers. Little made some questionable fouls in finishing with three points.
Gala will have a rough go against UMMC. The home team won its pool play by an average of 29 points. It defeated ZVVZ USK Prague 71-56 on Wednesday before a sold out crowd (5,000). Taurasi led with 18 points while Parker and French C Sandrine Gruda (Los Angeles) combined for 25 rebounds.
WNBA training camp opens April 27 but Wright and Little are possible late arrivals. They’re expected to return to Turkey and once Final Eight play is complete, the Turkish league will resume its domestic playoffs. Kayseri, which made a club-first Final Eight appearance, advanced to the semifinals in the Turkish postseason.
Here are highlights from the Gala-Kayseri game:
Here are the top 5 plays from Wednesday, naturally including Kayseri leading the list. The countdown is provided by former Storm PG Edwige Lawson-Wade, a French Olympian.
Parker led UMMC to the 2013 EuroLeague title with practically the same squad. She finished with a double-double in 24 points and 11 rebounds in the 82-56 championship game against Fenerbahce. The win gave Taurasi her fifth overall EuroLeague championship. Here she talks about her mindset during the pursuit of winning: