Illustration photo – Match of the 6th round of Group A of the European Basketball League USK Prague – Olympiakos Piraeus, December 14, 2022, Prague. From left, Ioanna Diela of Olympiakos and Alyssa Thomas of USK.
Piraeus (Greece) – USK Prague's basketball players won the 13th round of the European League against Olympiakos Piraeus clearly 85:54 and continue to hold second place in Group A. The Czech champions relied mainly on the performances of American pivot Brionna Jones, who scored 19 points, and her compatriot Alyssa Thomas, the author of 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Olympiakos' top scorers were Megan Gustafson and Anna Stamolampru with 14 points.
Photogallery: European Women's Basketball Cups
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The players of coach Natália Hejková confirmed their role as favorites against the last team in the table and claimed their ninth victory of the season. They will close the regular season next week at home with a match against Bologna. Progress to the quarterfinals was already certain before the match in Greece.
“These matches, when a mandatory victory is expected, are always unpleasant. However, I am glad that we used a wider squad during the match. The players from the bench contributed not only in the decided situation, but also in the moments when it was necessary to take action. In the end, it it was a convincing win,” Hejková told ČTK.
Both teams returned to the Euroleague after a three-week representative break. USK started better against the outsider and, thanks to Jones' ten points, gained a double-digit lead (14:2) after less than five minutes of the game in a cozy atmosphere. Although the Greek team slowed down and kept pace in the second quarter, the women from Prague still left for the halftime break with a ten-point lead. They were mainly successful in rebounding, where they outscored their opponents 24:14 in the first half.
“The first quarter we played with concentration and what we wanted. The second quarter was a little quieter and there were some mistakes. we'll try to work until next time,” said Hejková.
After the break, USK finally broke the resistance of Olympiakos. Jones was joined in shooting by Thomas and Valériane Vukosavljevic. Thomasová scored 12 points in the third part and the women from Prague took a twenty-two point lead. They won the third quarter 29:17. “We were very concentrated there,” the Slovakian coach pointed out.
In the final part, Hejková left the main stars on the bench, but USK still increased the lead. While Thomas and Oblak rested, Jones called a break. “She was hit in the back and begged to sit down,” described Hejková.
Even so, the Czech champions won the match without any problems and defeated Olympiakos by more than thirty points for the second time in the season. They followed up on a 95:63 home victory in December. “The last match with Bologna will not only be about finishing the group, but also about gaining calm and confidence before the playoffs,” added Hejková.
Olympiakos Piraeus – USK Prague 54:85 (16:26, 27:37, 44:66)
Most points: Stamolampruová and Gustafsonová 14 each, Shooková 7 – Jonesová 19, Thomasová 17, Vukosavljevičová 15. Fouls: 16:15. Free throws: 10/9 – 14/8. Triples: 5:5. Rebounds: 26:43.
Other matches of Group A:
Fenerbahce Istanbul – Valencia 93:61,
19:00 Polkowice – Bourges,
20:30 Bologna – Szekszárd.