The headline heading into this week will be the EuroLeague Final Four, which tips off April 14 in Ekaterinburg. Epiphanny Prince and Dynamo Kursk will go head-to-head with Kia Vaughn and USK Praha in one semifinal series, with the winner advancing to face either host UMMC or Fenerbahce of the Turkish League. Either way, the Liberty will be represented in the premier European International tournament.
In domestic leagues, Shavonte Zellous and Kiah Stokes bounced back for Besiktas, combining to score 31 points in a 76-59 win over Istanbul Univ. last week. That victory propels them to 15-10 overall and in position to finish 5th in the league with just one regular season game remaining.
Prince and Dynamo Kursk advanced to the Russian League championship series by sweeping away Dynamo M. last week; Prince had 14 points and a couple of 3-pointers in the decisive series clincher. In the Czech Republic, Vaughn and USK Praha will commence their championship series against Sokol on April 20, after the EuroLeague Final Four concludes.
LIBERTY INTERNATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Epiphanny Prince – Dynamo Kursk
Piph enjoyed an efficient scoring game to help lead Dynamo Kursk into the Russian League championship series, finishing with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting with a pair of 3-pointers in a 98-62 win over Dynamo M. She is averaging 8.2 ppg in the Russian League this year, and will lead her team against UMMC in the championship series starting on April 23.
Czech Republic-ZBL (22-0, Ranked 1st)
EuroLeague Semifinals (Face Dynamo Kursk on April 14)
|#1 K. VAUGHN (Czech Republic)||19||16.6||78||126||.619||0||3||.000||33||45||.733||5.2||0.7||0.8||0.3||9.9|
|#1 K. VAUGHN (EuroLeague)||17||29.8||84||176||.477||0||4||.000||15||21||.714||6.8||1.4||1.2||0.1||10.8|
Next up for Kia Vaughn and her USK Praha squad is the EuroLeague semifinals, where they will look for redemption against Epiphanny Prince and Dynamo Kursk. USK lost both regular season matchups to Dynamo Kursk, one of them narrowly, and now will have a chance to face off one more time when the league final four tips off on April 14. Leading up to that anticipate matchup, Vaughn and USK Praha cruised into the Czech League championship round, sweeping away Nymburk 3-0. In game two last week, Vaughn posted 16 points with 7 rebounds in just 24 minutes, and is averaging 9.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in the Czech League this season. The Czech League championship series against Sokol opens on April 20.
Russia-PBL (19-1, Ranked 1st)
EuroLeague Semifinals (Face USK Praha on April 14)
|#10 E. PRINCE (Russia)||23||22.6||58||120||.483||14||47||.298||30||39||.769||2.1||3.2||1.6||0.0||8.2|
|#10 E. PRINCE (EuroLeague)||16||28.2||55||107||.514||7||26||.269||16||22||.727||1.9||3.5||1.5||0.1||9.2|
After sweeping away Dynamo M in the Russian League semifinals, it is the most exciting time of the year for Epiphanny Prince and Dynamo Kursk as they prepare for potentially several showdowns with Russian rival UMMC. Tipping off on Friday, Piph and her squad open player in the EuroLeague semifinals where they will face Kia Vaughn and her USK Praha squad. The winner will likely advance to meet Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, and Emma Meesseman in the final on Sunday. After that, Dynamo Kursk will open its Russian League championship series against UMMC on April 23. The two powerhouse squads split their pair of regular season matchups. After netting 14 points with a pair of 3-pointers in the win over Dynamo M last week, Prince is averaging 8.2 ppg in Russian League play.
Russia-PBL (16-4, Ranked 3rd)
Euroleague Quarterfinals (Lost to USK Praha 2-1)
|#17 A. ZAHUI B (Russia)||19||19.9||87||143||.608||11||27||.407||42||50||.840||5.1||0.8||1.4||0.6||13.1|
|#17 A. ZAHUI B (EuroLeague)||16||28.4||79||156||.506||14||59||.237||39||52||.750||9.3||1.2||1.1||1.1||14.9|
Nadezhda Orenburg was eliminated from the Russian League playoff after suffering an 80-64 loss to UMMC last week. Amanda Zahui B continued to rest due to having a sore hamstring. Orenburg now awaits its opponent in the bottom half of the Russian League playoffs, which will resume next week.
Turkey-KBSL (15-10, Ranked 5th)
|#2 S. ZELLOUS (Turkey)||25||36.8||136||329||.413||27||104||.260||94||114||.825||6.0||3.6||0.8||0.1||17.9|
Shavonte Zellous bounced back from an off shooting night to pour in 21 points in just 29 minutes of action to lead Besiktas to a 76-59 victory over Istanbul Univ. last week. Improving to 15-10 overall, Besiktas is in solid position to finish 5th in the league and face either Abdullah Gul or Galatasaray in the Turkish League quarterfinals once the playoffs begin. Ranking 5th in the league in scoring, Zellous is averaging 17.9 ppg with 6.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per contest. Besiktas closes out the regular season against Samsun on April 19.
Turkey-KBSL (15-10, Ranked 5th)
|#41 K. STOKES (Turkey)||21||35.5||100||173||.578||1||1||1.000||38||49||.776||14.1||1.2||1.3||1.6||11.5|
Kiah Stokes posted a 10 point, 11 rebound double-double as Besiktas improved to 15-10 in the Turkish League following a 76-59 win over Istanbul Univ. last week. Stokes was 4-of-7 from the field, and also had 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocked shots in the victory. She is now averaging 11.5 points and a league-leading 14.1 rebounds per game. Besiktas is in prime position to finish 5th in the Turkish League table with one regular season game remaining, which will come on April 19 against Samsun.