Ramle in France with Eurocup title on the line

Ramle was clearly nervous in the first leg and struggled to cope with Arras’ pressure defense.

March 24, 2011 07:28
2 minute read.
ELITZUR RAMLE forward Le’Coe Willingham

Elitzur Ramle 311. (photo credit: FIBA Europe website)

Despite only managing a 61-61 tie in the first leg of the Eurocup final in Israel last week, Elitzur Ramle coach Adan Inbar is confident his team is capable of beating Arras in the return leg in France on Thursday night to become the first local women’s side to lift a European title.

Ramle trailed throughout the first leg, but came back from 12 points down in the final quarter to end the game in a deadlock and keep alive its chase of continental glory and an unprecedented treble.

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Ramle has already lifted the State Cup and took a 1-0 lead in the league playoff semifinals on Monday with an 87-85 victory over Maccabi Ramat Hen.

“We are facing a game which could define careers,” Inbar said. “As some of the players have said: ‘This is a once in a lifetime opportunity’. I’m very excited and I’m not going to be shy about it because you don’t get to play in the final of a European competition every day.

“We know all about Arras and I hope we can play the way we know in France and return to Israel with the cup. We just need to make some final adjustments and calm the girls and make sure that they are not over-motivated.”

Ramle was clearly nervous in the first leg and struggled to cope with Arras’ pressure defense.

Le’Coe Willingham (23 points and seven rebounds) and Tanasha Wright (17 points and 12 rebounds) kept Ramle in the game, with the team missing its leader Shay Doron for much of the night after the guard suffered an ankle injury in the first period.

Doron eventually came back to play a key role in Ramle’s late run and she is optimistic that the team will bounce back from the disappointing display in the first leg to hand Arras its first home defeat of the European season after six straight wins.

“We believe that we can take this title,” said Doron, who sat out Ramle’s win over Ramat Hen to ensure she could play against Arras.

“We are facing one game we have looked forward to all season long and we will be ready to realize the dream of bringing Ramle a European cup.”

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