Elitzur Ramle became the first Israeli women’s basketball team to lift a European title, beating Arras 61-53 in France to win the Eurocup.
By ALLON SINAI
Elitzur Ramle became the first Israeli women’s basketball team to lift a European title on Thursday night, beating Arras 61-53 in France to win the Eurocup.Ramle could only record a 61-61 tie in the first leg in Israel last week and dropped to an early deficit on Thursday.However, Adan Inbar’s team seized control of the encounter in the second period, outscoring Arras 28-9 after netting just five points in the first 10 minutes.The hosts came back to within striking range in the second half, but Ramle held on to its lead to make local history.“This was very tough, but we played smart basketball and claimed the win,” said Inbar.“These are girls who have been on championship teams and they know what needs to be done to win,” said Le’- Coe Willingham, who scored 15 points.Laine Selwyn also had 15 points for Ramle, with Shay Doron and Tanasha Wright adding 14 and 12 points, respectively.Pauline Akonga had 13 points for Arras, which shot just 16 of 61 from the field.Ramle took an early 5-2 lead, with Selwyn scoring all five points.However, the visitors would go scoreless in the final 6:47 of the first period and Akonga and Johanne Gomis ensured Arras led 13-5 after 10 minutes.Ramle was fortunate to be down by just eight points after hitting just twoof- 12 field-goal attempts, and when it finally found its range, it surged into the lead.Doron, Willingham and Wright all caught fire and combined for 27 of Ramle’s 28 points in the second period, with Arras just adding nine points to its tally in the quarter.Doron’s free-throws with 6:21 to play in the half completed Ramle’s comeback (19-18) and Wright’s basket three minutes later capped a 20-2 run to give the visitors a double-digit margin (29-18).Ramle was in the driving seat at the break, leading 33-22, and a Selwyn three-pointer three minutes into the second half opened a game-high 13-point lead (38-25).However, the Frenchwomen ate away at the lead as the third period progressed and Olesia Malashenko basket brought Arras within four points (45-41) with 10 minutes to play.The hosts would come no closer though, with Selwyn increasing the gap to 54-45 with 3:18 to go and Doron’s free throws from the line with a minute to play securing a monumental win for Israeli women’s hoops.
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