Basketball – Euroleague (F): Villeneuve-d’Ascq in the final!

Published on April 12, 2024 at 5:02 p.m. – updated on April 12, 2024 at 8:16 p.m. Aurélien Canot

Winner (84-78) of USK Prague of Valériane Ayayi-Vukosavljevic, this Friday afternoon in Mersin (Turkey) in the semi-finals of the competition, Villeneuve-d’Ascq qualified for the first final of its history in the Women’s Euroleague. The Guerrières will face for the title the Turks of Fenerbahçe, coached by Valérie Garnier, the former coach of the Bleues.

Who said that Villeneuve-d’Ascq had nothing to expect from this Final Four? Presented (rightly) as the Tom Thumb of these semi-finals of the Women’s Euroleague scheduled for this Friday in Turkey, the northern club can nevertheless dream more than ever of a title. The Guerrières are only one victory away from lifting the most beautiful trophy there is in terms of the European Cup in basketball. Friday afternoon on the Mersin floor during the first semi-final on the program (the second will later be between Mersin, the host club of this four-way final), Villeneuve-d’Ascq defied all predictions by creating the sensation against USK Prague of Valériane Ayayi-Vukosavljevic. Victorious over the Czechs with a score of 84-78, Rachid Meziane’s players simultaneously validated an incredible ticket to the final of the competition. What they had never managed to do in their history, in the same way that no French team had achieved this feat for twenty years and the coronation of Valenciennes, another northern team, at the expense of the Poles of Gdynia. The current leader of LFB suffered in the first half (Prague led 43-37 at the break), before magnificently reversing the situation in the second half (26-19 and 21-16) thanks in particular to its American leader Kamiah Smalls, author of a huge match (18 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds) like her two teammates and other locomotives of these Guerrières who have been walking on water since February (only one defeat, on February 21 , against the Hungarians of DVTK): Janelle Salaun (15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists) and Kariata Diaby (14 points, 9 rebounds).

Ayayi-Vukosavljevic a pourtant tout donné

In the opposite camp, Ayayi-Vukosavljevic, finally present (absent during the last six outings of her team, she was uncertain for this semi-final) and author of a high-flying performance (24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists), gave everything to try to stop the momentum of the Northerners and Kennedy Burke (6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist), again voted best player of the year in LFB. The French international, top scorer in this first semi-final, had a shot in the money time to bring her team back into contact. She missed it, to the delight of these Warriors who are now ready to play an ugly trick in the final at Fenerbahçe, a club coached by… ex-Les Bleues coach Valérie Garnier to write the most beautiful page of the ESBVA. Twenty years after the Valenciennoises’ title, history is in the making in the northern camp. More than ever.


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