It was a week of prep leading up to the big EuroLeague Final Four next week in Russia for Epiphanny Prince and Kia Vaughn, as they continue to ease through their domestic postseasons before the big challenge that awaits on April 14.
Piph’s Dynamo Kursk squad is one win away from reaching the Russian final, after easily beating Dynamo M. in game one last week 77-54, with Prince contributing 11 points. Vaughn’s USK Praha team is now in the Czech Championship series after sweep Nymburk. Before that though, they will play in the EuroLeague semifinals against Piph’s Dynamo Kursk team on April 14.
In Turkey, Besiktas had its 5-game winning streak ended by 1st place Yakin Dogu, 70-65. The 5th place Besiktas team fell on the road to drop to 14-10, still in solid command of 5th place in the league table. Shavonte Zellous had 5 points and 10 assists, while Kiah Stokes scored 8 points with 12 rebounds in the narrow road setback.
LIBERTY INTERNATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kia Vaughn – USK Praha
Kia Vaughn helped USK Praha earn a 2nd-straight series sweep to advance to the league championship series later this month. Her strongest performance came in game two of the series against Nymburk, where she finished with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting with 7 rebounds. The Czech Championship series tips off April 20, but in between USK Praha will play in the EuroLeague Final Four April 14-16.
Czech Republic-ZBL (22-0, Ranked 1st)
EuroLeague Quarterfinals (Tied with Orenburg 1-1)
|#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.
Russia-PBL (19-1, Ranked 1st)
EuroLeague (Swept Bourges in Quarterfinals, will face either Orenburg or USK Praha in Semifinals)
|#10 E. PRINCE (Russia)||22||22.7||55||115||.478||12||44||.273||28||37||.757||2.1||3.3||1.6||0.0||7.9|
|#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|
One more win for Dynamo Kursk and Epiphanny Prince and they will have advanced to the Russian League championship series, which would set up a meeting with wither UMMC or Nadezhda Orenburg. In a 77-54 win over Dynamo M. in the semifinals, Piph logged just 23 minutes, scoring 11 points, with a 3-pointer and a steal. Game two of the series is scheduled for April 9, and after that the EuroLeague semifinals tip off, as Dynamo Kursk will face USK Praha (Kia Vaughn) in the semifinal round, hosted at UMMC. The championship game would come just two days later in Russia.
Russia-PBL (16-4, Ranked 3rd)
Euroleague (Tied 1-1 with USK Praha in Quarterfinals)
|#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|
Amanda Zahui B missed Orenburg’s Russian League semifinal game against the loaded UMMC squad (Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Deanna Nolan), which her team lost 85-50. Game two of the series is scheduled for April 9.
Turkey-KBSL (14-9, Ranked 5th)
|#2 S. ZELLOUS (Turkey)||24||37.1||130||315||.413||25||99||.253||91||111||.820||6.0||3.7||0.8||0.1||17.8|
Besiktas had its 5-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of 1st place Yakin Dogu (Kayla McBride, Courtney Vandersloot, Quanitra Hollingsworth) last week. For Shavonte Zellous, one of the Turkish League’s most consistent offensive threats, she saw her lengthy double-figure scoring streak come to an end, as she finished with 5 points against Yakin Dogu, but she did dish out 10 assists with 4 rebounds as Besiktas nearly pulled out what would have been its most impressive road win of the year. Zellous is averaging 17.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Besiktas is schedule to return to action on April 8 with the Turkish League playoffs approaching.
Turkey-KBSL (14-9, Ranked 5th)
|#41 K. STOKES (Turkey)||20||35.7||96||166||.578||1||1||1.000||36||46||.783||14.3||1.2||1.3||1.6||11.6|
Kiah Stokes had 8 points and 12 rebounds against 1st place Yakin Dogu (Kayla McBride, Courtney Vandersloot, Quanitra Hollingsworth) last week, but Besiktas saw its 5-game winning streak come to an end with a 70-65 loss on the road. With the loss, Besiktas falls to 14-10 with the end of the Turkish League regular season fast approaching. Stoke is averaging a double-double with 11.6 points and a league-leading 14.3 rebounds per game as Besiktas currently sits in 5th place. They are scheduled to resume play on April 8.