The format will be similar to other rounds of the knockout stages of the tournament with two games, one at the home of each team with scores aggregated to determine a winner. The major change this year is that the four teams progressing through the EuroCup season to this point will be joined at this stage by four teams that did not qualify for the next stage of EuroLeague. This will add competition to the tournament at this stage, but it raises the possibility that a team will be crowned champions without having gone through the whole competition. Game rules still apply at this stage so either game can end in a tie and overtime is only played in the second game and will only be played if the overall score is tied.
Quarterfinal Matchups (teams listed first host first game and teams listed second host second game, teams dropping from EuroLeague marked with *)
AGU Spor* vs. Besiktas JK
Landes vs. Aluinvent Miskolc
ESBVA-LM* vs. Good Angels Kosice*
Bourges* vs. Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje
Preview and Predictions:
AGU Spor vs. Besiktas JK
How they got here: AGU Spor finished 6th in EuroLeague Group B and Besiktas JK finished 2nd in Group A. Besiktas, who were seeded 16th beat 1 seed Istanbul University 152-148 in the round of 16 and 8 seed Reyer Venezia 139-129 in OT in the Round of 8.
Abdullah Gul University looked to be in prime position in EuroLeague, but almost failed to even qualify for this competition. They have seemed poised to recover from struggles several times this season, but have not been able to sustain momentum. If Chelsea Gray can continue her recent form, they will be dangerous in this round as they are deeper than their opponents. Besiktas is the story of the knockout round thus far, starting as the 16 seed and knocking out two opponents in dramatic fashion. They will be helped by having Cappie Pondexter to carry the team when they need it the most. Jelena Milovanovic has provided them with a reliable second option. While those two could carry their team, a reliable third option would certainly help their cause.
Prediction: Besiktas has found a way to win series late since the knockout round started. They may lose the first game on the road, but look for Cappie Pondexter to carry them back at home and take them to the semifinals.
Landes vs. Aluinvent Miskolc
How they got here: Landes finished 1st in Group F and was the 5 seed, beating 12 seed Edirnespor 150-148 in OT in the Round of 16 and 13 seed UFAB 49 118-92 in Round of 7. Aluinvent Miskolc finished 1st in Group G and was the 2 seed, beating 15 seed Lulea 176-134 in Round of 16 and 10 seed Nymburk 146-114 in Round of 8.
Landes nearly failed to make it out of the first knockout round, but continue to motor along in the tournament. They lack some of the star power that other teams have, but their balance means that any one of a number of players can step up and control a game. Miskolc has won every game in the competition so far and yet still sneak under the radar. They have continued to add players to surround the frontcourt that has helped them so far. It seems unlikely to think that they will win eight more games outright, but with their confidence high at the moment, they should still find ways to advance against bigger name teams further into the competition.
Prediction: Miskolc is riding a wave here both domestically and in this competition. The first game will be tough, but look for them to win both and complete an impressive sweep to keep their streak going.
ESBVA-LM vs. Good Angels Kosice
How they got here: ESBVA-LM finished 6th in EuroLeague Group A and Good Angels Kosice finished 5th in EuroLeague Group A.
Oddly enough, these two teams came from the same EuroLeague group and thus have already faced off twice. Each team won on their opponent’s home floor with Good Angels Kosice winning overwhelmingly in the second game. Villeneuve relies on balance and team play, but may have needed a little more star power to advance at the highest levels. Good Angels Kosice, on the other hand, has the veteran presence of Zuzana Zirkova directing traffic as Crystal Langhorne leads the frontcourt while Shenise Johnson provides additional scoring punch. This is a battle of teams that have generally had continuity in their rosters and the shared familiarity should make for two good games.
Prediction: Both teams will be looking for redemption after dropping out of EuroLeague. While the Slovakian side is talented, the tougher games that Villeneuve has played recently will give them the edge in the first game and Good Angels Kosice will come up short even with a win in the second game.
Bourges vs. Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje
How they got here: Bourges finished 5th in EuroLeague Group B and Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje finished 1st in Group A and were the 3 seed. Spartak beat 14 seed DIKE Napoli 143-119 in Round of 16 and 11 seed Nantes Reze 139-124 in Round of 8
Bourges may be unhappy to have dropped down to this competition, but their veterans will still be looking to win some silverware. The core of the team has been together for a while and Celine Dumerc and Ingrid Tanqueray will take turns facilitating the offense. They stand in stark contrast to Spartak Moscow, which has no players born before 1991. The inside combination of Emma Meesseman and Maria Vadeeva has steered the team through all of its tests, but Meesseman’s departure may have derailed the team. In response, they did add Kayla Alexander and will hope that she immediately provides a boost to recreate the twin towers. Around them, the shooters on the wing will be key in keeping the offense flowing.
Prediction: Young Spartak Moscow will have trouble in France with the experience of Bourges. The deficit that will likely result from the first game will be too tough to overcome in the second game even if the series is split.