The finals series of the Israeli Women’s Premier Basketball League, the Athena Winner League,
continues this evening at 18:45 IDT (11:45 EDT), with hosts Elitzur Ramla looking to close out the
best of five game series against Maccabi Bnot Ashdod. Ramla lead the series 2-1, however they will
be looking to bounce back after their 96-82 loss to Ashdod on Thursday evening.
In game 3, Liz Cambage (23 points, 17 rebounds and 3 assists) and Natisha Hiedman (23 points, 8
rebounds and 3 assists) led the scoring for Ashdod, while Shakira Austin (26 points, 10 rebounds and
3 assists) and Alysha Clark (22 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists) spearheaded Ramla’s attack.
After their game 2 win, Ramla coach, Shira Haelion, said that when the team was down, she told her
players, “it’s all in your head,” and that they needed to stick together. Ramla looked like they were
going to continue the way they finished that game in game 3, as they got out to a quick 6-0 lead.
However, Ashdod was able to take a slim 22-19 lead after 10 minutes, which increased to 51-36 at
half time, a deficit from which Ramla could not recover.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Ashdod coach Le’coe Willingham said of her players after game
3. “Our backs were against the wall, and we knew that everyone had to bring just a little bit more. I
think everyone did that today and they did what they were good out. They didn’t play too much
outside, it was for the team tonight, and I can’t ask for anything better than that.”
Cambage, who herself had a double-double half time, was particularly happy with the team’s
defensive effort: “You know, it’s nice to come out and actually execute our defense. That was our
major focus tonight, just get our defense right and we finally did that.”
However, coming into Ramla to try to even the series won’t be easy, and Hiedeman understood
what they needed to do in order to prepare for this evening’s game: “We just need watch film and
still get better. Eighty-two points is still a lot for them, so we just need to figure how to cut back
from that and rest, hydrate, and get ready for the next one.”
Ramla’s shooting percentages was much lower on Thursday than they were in the previous two
games in the series, shooting 40.0% from 2 (compared to 44.7% and 45.9% in the first two games)
and 33.3% from 3 (compared to 57.1% and 41.9% in the first two games). Alyssa Baron highlighted
the struggles that Ramla had in the game, scoring 5 points 1/9 from the field) whereas in the
previous game she shot 9/15 (including 8/13 from behind the arc).
While Ramla will be looking to turn things around this evening, Ashdod will be hoping that they can
continue to build on the game 3 win to force a deciding game in Ashdod on Thursday.
“We’re just going to watch film and get ready for the fight of our lives,” Willingham said. “It comes
down to the little things in a series like this.”