With Israel’s current war against Hamas, sport has taken a backseat. As The Sports Rabbi himself wrote last week, “Sport seems so, so far off from what really needs to be important right now in Israel.” While we are grieving the atrocities which took place on October 7, we are also simultaneously trying to ensure the safe return of the more-than-200 hostages whom Hamas still hold, defending ourselves from a barrage of rockets being fired at us from both the south and the north and fighting the horrid antisemitism that we are viewing from afar.
However, the world keeps turning and we try to keep living our lives. This is happening both on and on the court. Here’s a look at what has happened over the last week in the world of Holy Land women’s hoops.
Clark wins 3rd WNBA Championship
Last week, dual American-Israeli Alysha Clark and her Las Vegas Aces won the 2023 WNBA Champion, defeating the New York Liberty 3 games to 1. Clark, the WNBA Sixth Person of the Year, played an important role for the Aces in the series, averaging 8.5 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in a little over 28 minutes per game. This is Clark’s third WNBA Championship, after previously winning two with the Seattle Storm in 2018 and 2020.
It was an emotional moment for Clark, whose father, Duane Clark, passed away in September 2022.
“He’s been with me all season, he’s been my sixth man and I know he would be so happy right now and I’m just so happy,” a teary Clark said immediately after the end of game 4 of the series. “I know he’s with me, and I wish he could be here. I wish I could call him. But this is for him. This entire season, I showed up every day because I know he loved watching me play.”
Start of 2023-24 Athena Winner League Delayed, Ramat Hasharon Out of EuroCup
The Athena Winner League, which was due to kick-off on October 16, has been delayed due to the war. On Thursday, the Israel Basketball Association sent a notice that all leagues will begin on December 3, subject to instructions from the Homefront Command and the Ministry of Sport.
In European competition, A.S. Ramat Hasharon received permission from FIBA to withdraw from the 2023-24 EuroCup competition.
“Due to the challenging situation that we are experiencing at the moment, uncertainty and departure of foreign players, as well as the municipality budget which we were meant to receive for participation in the European competition which we didn’t receive for reasons which I cannot detail, we made a decision together with the Basketball Association, to request that FIBA release us from participating,” Ramat Hasharon’s professional manager, Eli Rabi, said of the decision. “I hope that the peace will return quickly and in parallel we will be able to return to organizing and participating in international competitions already next season.”
Elitzur Ramla, the other Israeli team which was drawn in the EuroCup competition, has not withdrawn, but is yet to play a game. However they, like other teams, have returned to practice on the court in order to prepare themselves as best as they can.