After a tough opening three rounds of the 2019/20 EuroLeague Women season, Bec Allen stepped up a gear to help lift Arka Gdynia to a thrilling 71-69 victory over Girona in round 4 in a week in which she celebrated her birthday.
Entering the game seeking their first win of the season against Girona at home, it became obvious from the outset that the game was going to be a tight one. Despite a blocked shot by Allen on Girona’s opening possession, it was the visitors who edged ahead early to open up an 8-2 lead. Yet when Allen scored her first four points of the game, capping an 8-0 run with a jumper, the scores were locked up at 10-all. While both sides traded baskets, it was Gdynia narrowly ahead by 3 points at the first break.
Gdynia would open the second period strongly, pulling away to an 11 point lead. Allen made back-to-back baskets including a triple to help maintain Gynia’s ascendancy. The visitors continued to plug away, and with the home side’s shooting going cold coupled with a made layup in the dying seconds, Girona had closed the margin t just 3 at half time.
Allen helped extend the margin back to 7 with an early blitzkrieg at the start of the third. While the scoring dried up for both sides midway through the term, Allen inspired her side late, find her way to the charity stripe before hitting another jumper late to put her side in the box seat by 9 points with one quarter to play.
An early triple to Allen in the final term saw Gdynia up by 10, but then it took almost 3 minutes before they would score again, allowing their opponents to close to within 4. Two consecutive blocks by Allen thwarted Gdynia’s chances of stealing the lead. The final minutes became a battle of attrition, with untimely turnovers allowing Girona to tie up the game at 69-all at the free throw line with just 15 seconds to play. Barbora Balintova (16 points) was then fouled by former Dandenong Rangers WNBL point guard Laia Palau (9 assists). Balintova made both to put Gdynia back in front, before thwarting a last gasp attempt by their opponents to seal an enthralling victory.
Allen’s game-high 23 points came on 8 of 16 shooting alongside 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocked shots in 36 minutes. Her scoring haul was a season best and her , boosting her average to 14.8 points per game which currently stands as 12th best in the competition.
Sami Whitcomb’s BLMA fell short 60-50 on the road to Famila Schio in Italy, with the Opals guard having a quiet night offensively. Whitcomb added just 5 points on 1 of 9 shooting as her side dropped just its second game of the season.
Alex Ciabattoni saw almost 2 minutes on court for Venezia Reyer in their difficult 51-78 loss to second placed Nadezhda in their round 4 clash. Venezia have one win under their belt across their first four games.