Holy Land’s Women’s basketball weekly update

Dec 4, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

We present you with the Sports Rabbi’s update of women’s hoops from the Holy Land – whether they’re playing in Israel, Europe or the US, we are here to let you know what you need to know in Israeli women’s basketball!

The Athena Winner League (Israeli’s premier women’s basketball league) continued with Round 2 on Monday night with some lobsided results, the lowest winning margin being 21 points and the largest winning margin being 61 points. This unfortunately may be a sign of things to come for the undefeated teams, already looking like they will be in the fight against relegation all season.

The game of the week between the reigning State Cup holders Maccabi Bnot Ashdod and Hapoel Lev Jerusalem was the best contest of the round. Hapoel Jerusalem held a slender 2 point lead at halftime, but Ashdod held their opponents to 17 points in the second half while they themselves scored 40 points.

“It wasn’t easy for us, but I don’t make excuses,” Ashdod coach Shira Haelion said after the game, referring to the unideal leadup to the season due to the Swords of Iron War between Israel and Hamas. “This is what it is, I’ve always said that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. I’m very happy with the combinations that our girls have made. We have great girls. We didn’t have a lot of time to work, but I think we have potential. I’m not looking too far ahead; I’m looking one step at a time. For me, we’re looking at next week, we’ll continue to connect. It’s not simple for us, but I’m happy with the way we played, especially in the second half. We made good adjustments and we really played as a team especially on defense. To get only 17 points in the second half, the gameplan worked and I’m happy.”

“First of all, we have a very short roster, especially since one of our starters [Noor Kayuf] got injured in the second half,” Hapoel Jerusalem coach Limor Pelleg said after the game. “We’re a very young team. They have a way to go and break in and to understand that we can’t break down in the middle of the game, even with the runs of the other team, simply to stop playing and put up our hands in defeat.”

Round 2 Results (home teams listed first)
Game of the Week: Maccabi Bnot Ashdod defeated Hapoel Lev Jerusalem 78-57
Best for Ashdod: Tal Lev (21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 1 block), Tal Yakov (19 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals) and Danielle Karsh (14 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal)
Best for Hapoel Jerusalem: Alex Cohen (25 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks)

AS Ramat Hasharon defeated by Hapoel Rishon Letzion 49-70
Best for Ramat Hasharon: Dor Saar (17 points, 1 rebound and 4 assists), Rotem Schuster (12 points, 6 rebounds and 1 steal) and Ofir Kesten Raz (11 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals)
Best for Rishon Letzion: Hila Karsh (21 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals), Dorian Dahan Sujic (20 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks) and Amit Terner (13 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block)
Elitzur Ramle defeated Maccabi Haifa 89-54
Best for Ramle: Daniel Raber (20 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 1 block), Tslil Vaturi (18 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal) and Ofir Lavy (16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals)
Best for Haifa: Mika Bitan (17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 1 block), Shada Kana’an (15 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals) and May Revahe (13 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals)

Maccabi Ramat Gan defeated ASA Bank Yahav Jerusalem 100-39
Best for Ramat Gan: Alis Hatokay (22 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals), Hadar Hadad (19 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals) and Lauren Kasantini (18 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists)
Best for ASA Jerusalem: Adi Furstenberg (4 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal)

Hapoel Petach Tikva defeated Elitzur Holon 72-53
Best for Petah Tikva: Ofir Parpara (16 points), 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals), Lihi Azouri (15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals) and Madison Shea (11 points and 3 rebounds)
Best for Holon: Maya Sharvit (11 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block)

Round 3 Schedule (home teams listed first) – Monday December 4, 2023
Game of the Week (live on Sport5): AS Ramat Hasharon vs Maccabi Bnot Ashdod– 18:00 IST (11:00 EST)
Elitzur Holon vs Elitzur Ramle – 19:00 IST (12:00 EST)
ASA Bank Yahav Jerusalem vs Hapoel Petach Tikva – 19:00 IST (12:00 EST)
Hapoel Lev Jerusalem vs Maccabi Ramat Gan – 19:00 IST (12:00 EST)
Maccabi Haifa vs Hapoel Rishon – 19:00 IST (12:00 EST)

Standings After Round 2
1. Maccabi Ramat Gan (2-0, +88)
2. Elitzur Ramle (2-0, +61)
3. Maccabi Bnot Ashdod (2-0, +39)
4. Hapoel Rishon Letzion (1-1, +9)
5. Hapoel Petach Tikva (1-1, -7)
6. Hapoel Lev Jerusalem (1-1, -9)
– – – – – – – – – — – – – – – – – – – – — – – –
7. AS Ramat Hasharon (1-1, -17)
8. Maccabi Haifa (0-2, -39)
9. Elitzur Holon (0-2, -46)
10. ASA Bank Yahav Jerusalem (0-2, -79)

The State Cup preliminary round will take place on Thursday December 7, with the quarterfinals to take place later this month on Thursday December 28.

Preliminary Round Schedule (home teams listed first) – Thursday December 7, 2023 – 19:00 IST (12:00 EST)
Game 1: ASA Bank Yahav Jerusalem vs Elitzur Holon
Game 2: Maccabi Ramat Gan vs Hapoel Petach Tikva

Quarterfinal Schedule (home teams listed first) – Thursday December 28, 2023 (times to be confirmed)
Winner of Preliminary Game 1 vs Hapoel Rishon Letzion
AS Ramat Hasharon vs Maccabi Bnot Ashdod
Winner of Preliminary Game 2 vs Elitzur Ramle
Hapoel Lev Jerusalem vs Maccabi Haifa

Hapoel Rishon Letzion’s Eden Zipel, who was signed by Belgian team Castors Braine as a temporary replacement for the injured Nastja Claessens, recorded 2 points and 1 rebound, 2 assist and 1 block in a little over 20 minutes in the 66-60 win over Portuguese team GDESSA-Barreiro. The Belgians finished in second place behind the London Lions in Group I and will next play a series against Spanish team Cadi La Seu, with the home leg on Thursday December 14 and the away leg on Thursday December 21.

Team Israel star Yarden Garzon continues to impress for the no. 17 ranked 7-1 Indiana Hoosiers, averaging 11.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in 2023-24. The Hoosiers are on a six-game winning streak, including Saturday’s 72-34 win over Stetson, a game in which Garzon recorded 14 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal. The Hoosiers will next take the court later on Saturday against the 5-5 Rutgers.

Yarden Garzon’s sister and fellow Team Israel star, the 4-3 Oklahoma State Cowgirls’ junior forward Lior Garzon, is also continuing strongly in the 2023-24 season, averaging 10.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game. The Cowgirls have won two in a row – including a 78-62 victory over Wyoming in which Garzon recorded 24 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists – and face the 4-2 Texas State on Saturday.

Junior guard for the 3-2 Toledo Rockets, Emmi Rinat, is averaging 6.0 points, 0.6 rebounds and 0.8 assists for the 2023-24 season, with her top individual game last week’s 73-58 victory over the 4-4 North Dakota State Bison, in which Rinat recorded 13 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal and 6 blocks. The Rockets next play against the 7-1 Wolverines on Friday.

Freshman guard Shirel Nahum, playing for the 5-3 UC Irvine Anteaters, is averaging 5.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.5 assists. Her best game of the season remains the 12 point, 5 rebound and 1 block game in last week’s 74-63 win over the St. Thomas Tommies. The Anteaters next face the 4-3 New Mexico State this week.

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