The stage is set in TDW1 where the regular season has concluded and we’re now gearing up for the Playoffs.
Here’s a preview of what we can expect, starting Wednesday April 6th when the Quarter-Finals best of three series will tip off.
- Castors Braine (#1) vs. Spirou Ladies (#8):
This match-up shouldn’t turn up any surprises as Castors Braine is likely to blow the Spirou Ladies out in 2 games and move on to the Semi-Finals. And most likely the finals after that since Braine has been dominating the competition for the past 8 seasons, accounting for 7 Championship trophies and 5 Belgian Cup trophies. They most likely would’ve won the title last year as well, if it weren’t for the global pandemic which caused the team to forfeit the Finals and thus offering the title to Basket Namur Capitale. I’m certain they are poised to prove on the court that they’re still the best team in the league… and with a 19-1 record throughout the regular season it’s hard to argue that point.
They’ve been led this season by their guard Aislinn Konig who leads the team in scoring with her 17.0 ppg, followed by Forward Jessica Lindstrom who – despite coming off the bench – leads the team in rebounding with 9.8 rpg (4th in the league). Add to that the well-rounded Valeriya Berezhynska (12.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg & 2.4 apg), the reliable point guard and Belgian Cat Elise Ramette (9.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.9 apg & 2.3 spg), aided by that other Belgian Cat Maxuella Lisowa-Mbaka (9.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.4 apg & 1.4 spg) and Quinn Urbaniak-Dornstauder (9.6 ppg & 5.3 rpg) and I think it is fair to say that on paper Braine is once again the team to beat.
As for the Spirou Ladies, reaching the playoffs has been quite a performance in itself as they had a very rocky season with a lot of coming and goings throughout the season, both on their roster and on their coaching staff. Players like Mia Loyd, Lydia Rivers and Anna Kelly are all out of the picture and have left it up to youngsters like Yelena Mense (9.1 ppg & 3.9 rpg), Eva Hambursin (7.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.3 apg & 1.7 spg) and Lisa Mukeba (7.8 ppg & 3.6 rpg) to hold their own. Luckily they will get some support from the late arrival Agnes Gorjanacz who in her 7 appearances so far led the team with 15.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.8 apg & 2.0 spg.
Not surprisingly Castors Braine easily won both of their previous match-ups this season with a combined 172-115 score.
- Kangoeroes Mechelen (#2) vs. Waregem (#7):
The biggest challenger for Castors Braine this season is undoubtedly Kangoeroes Mechelen. They already proved that they can defeat them once as they convincingly did so in the Finals of the Belgian Cup, winning it 83-51. But of course, winning a series instead of winning a single game is another animal altogether and obviously they’ll have to get past Waregem first and then the winner of the match-up between Namur Capitale and Kortrijk Spurs second.
I honestly don’t expect them to have any issues on that first part though as they’re clearly a stronger team than Waregem, quite literally, led as they are by Ziomara Morrison (23.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.6 spg & 1.3 bpg), the Massey sisters Billie (10.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.1 apg & 1.5 spg) & Becky (11.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.4 apg & 1.3 spg), the high-scoring wing Laure Resimont (18.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.1 apg & 1.8 spg) and their Point Guard Ivana Katanic (10.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.6 apg & 2.1 spg). Add to that the recent addition of Dominique Wilson (15.5 ppg & 4.5 rpg) and a string of talented youngsters behind them and you certainly have a team that should be a tough competitor for anyone.
Waregem on the other hand has to rely entirely on some very talented but also very young and inexperienced players, led by a duo of 17 year olds in Nastja Claessens (13.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.5 spg) and Emma Vindevogel (13.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg & 2.5 apg), along with their only import player, 20 year old Nina Krisper (9.0 ppg & 5.0 rpg) and 21 year old Nina Marcou (7.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.9 apg & 1.7 spg). Getting past Kangoeroes in these Quarter-Finals pretty much looks like a huge reach but one thing is certain: if they can keep this young team together then the future could look very bright indeed.
Kangoeroes Basket Mechelen won both previous match-ups this season with the combined score of 187-107.
- Namur Capitale (#3) vs. Kortrijk Spurs (#6):
In the third Quarter-Finals match-up we find the reigning champs (on a technicality… sure, but it still counts) Namur Capitale who will face off against the Kortrijk Spurs. And once again it certainly looks like the clear-cut winner will be Namur as they suffered only 4 losses during the regular season and have a much stronger and certainly more talented roster than Kortrijk.
Namur is led by Batabe Zempare who averaged 22.2 ppg (2nd in the league), 13.3 rpg (1st in the league) and 1.4 spg during the regular season and looks like the main favorite for the MVP award this season. She’s aided by Kamilla Ogun (15.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg & 2.6 apg), experienced point guard and assist leader Marjorie Carpreaux (8.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.6 apg & 2.2 spg) as well as Laura Baggio (8.2 ppg & 4.2 rpg), Jacobine Klerx (12.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.9 apg & 1.3 spg) and Harriet Nahwezhi-Bende (6.4 ppg & 5.3 rpg). More than enough power it seems to compete with Kangoeroes Mechelen for a spot in the Finals. And even Castors Braine should be wary if Namur indeed reaches the finals since their only loss during the regular season came at their hands.
The Kortrijk Spurs have a lot less individual talent on their roster than Namur has but they do have a strong collective, led by their two import players Ashlyn Herlihy (12.7 ppg & 5.9 rpg) and Megan Swords (7.1 ppg & 6.2 rpg). Add to that the experienced Belgian players Sien Devliegher (5.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.8 apg & 1.6 spg), Lisa Foucart (9.0 ppg & 2.7 rpg) and Evi Heyse (8.4 ppg & 3.9 rpg) and who knows, an upset could always be lurking around the corner. Winning the series does seem a bridge too far though, but hey, if there’s anything we’ve learned from following basketball for the past 3 decades it’s that everyone loves an underdog… and underdogs can turn out to have pretty sharp teeth if you underestimate them.
Namur Capitale won both previous match-ups this season with the combined score of 156-100.
- Liège Panthers (#4) vs. Phantoms Boom (#5):
In this final quarter-finals match-up we have two teams who seem very much eachothers equals and certainly promises to be a very interesting series indeed. And one we suspect/hope will go to a decisive Game 3. Liège Panthers do have the home-court advantage in this, but seeing how both teams won their match-ups during the regular season on the road, that home-court advantage might not be a decisive factor after all.
One other advantage that Liège Panthers seems to have is that they have a nice mix of talented youngsters such as Julia Franquin (8.0 ppg & 5.2 rpg) and Emmeline Leblon (6.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg & 3.4 apg) and accomplished, more experienced players such as Jaleesa Maes (12.0 ppg & 8.8 rpg), their import players Brittany Brewer (10.4 ppg & 7.8) and Eden Rotberg (13.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.6 apg & 1.7 spg) and their Guard Natacha Doppee (8.9 ppg & 4.2 apg).
The Phantoms can only bring two experienced players to counter Liège with Jolien Goyvaerts (12.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg & 3.3 apg) and Heleen Adams (9.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg & 2.3 apg) and are otherwise relying on a bunch of 20 year olds like Ine Joris (15.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg & 2.8 apg) and the Bell sisters Sarah (7.8 ppg) & Emma (6.5 ppg), along with even younger players like Axelle Van Eupen (6.3 ppg & 4.2 rpg), Sophie Van Hoof (6.9 ppg & 3.8 rpg) and 17 year old Habibatou Bah (6.0 ppg). Personally I am rooting for the youngsters to take the series (simply because I always root for the talented youngsters), but to be honest, I do expect Liège to get the upper-hand. In any case, this match-up should prove to be a very interesting series to follow.
Both teams split their regular season match-ups but if we combine the scores of both games it’s Liège who got the slight upper-hand, winning it 144-140.
Check out all results, boxscores, team pages and player profiles on our website here.