Elitzur Ramla are in Italy for the second leg of their EuroCup Quarter-Final against Reyer Venezia tonight (20:30 IST / 13:30 EST). Ramla won the first leg against Reyer in Israel last week in a come-from behind 80-75 victory, with a dominant 27-17 last quarter. The win gives them a 5-point advantage going into tonight’s game, but it’s going to be a challenge to win away in order to book a spot in the Semi-Final.
“That we knew how to come back from the deficit showed a lot of character,” Ramla coach Shira Haelion said after last week’s win. “At the same time, I think we have a lot more to improve, because generally I don’t think that we played well today. I think we need to play a lot smarter and more correctly in the next game, because they’re an excellent team. We need to see how we can make adjustments.”
Shakira Austin, who went to the Washington Mystics with the 3rd pick in last year’s WNBA draft and was named as the EuroCup Women MVP for the month of February, starred for Ramla in the first leg with a 29 point-16 rebound double-double. She was supported by veterans Alyssa Baron (19 points ,6 rebounds and 3 assists) and two-time WNBA champion Alysha Clark (14 points and 8 rebounds). For the Venetians, Minnesota Lynx forward Jessica Shepard (16 points and 6 rebounds) and Italian rookie Matilde Villa (13 points and 2 assists) led the scoring.
“Without a doubt Shakira has huge potential and she is progressing well this season,” Haelion said of her young star after the win. “Still, she is part of a group that plays as team. I’ll put it this way – she is making great progress, but in the end, it’s a team game.”
The winner of tonight’s game will fight for a spot in the Final against Galatasaray, who confirmed their ticket in the Semi-Final last night, completing a sweep against Cadi La Seu 75-65 after last week’s 86-61 victory.
On the other side of the bracket, LDLC ASVEL secured a spot in the Semi-Final with a sweep over French team Angers, winning 71-60 after a huge 88-58 victory in the first leg. ASVEL will play the winner of tonight’s last Quarter-Final in Spain between Zaragoza and Villeneuve d’Ascq (21:00 IST / 14:00 EST).
All games can be seen live on the FIBA YouTube basketball channel.