The last month of the EuroLeague Women’s Championship series proved to be a bumpy ride for Kristi Toliver and Emma Meesseman’s UMMC Ekaterinburg. But they were ultimately victorious by winning the Russian Premier League.
Nice shot of UMMC after their upset win over Dynamo Kursk for the Russian Premier League Championship. Diana Taurasi MVP. pic.twitter.com/rfK9AnOStf— кукольный Дональд (@ElleLovesTennis) May 1, 2017
There was a ton of build up of whether Dynamo Kursk, who added Angel McCoughtry, Epiphany Prince, Nneka Ogwumike and Maria Vadeeva would challenge the reigning 2016 EuroLeague Champions, UMMC. Replete with All Stars and MVP’s alike, Diana Taurasi, Brittany Griner, Kristi Toliver and Emma Meesseman, this was a show down between two teams that split wins during the regular season.
In the Semi-final of the EuroLeague Championship, Kursk prevailed over USK Praha in Group A, and UMMC lost to Fenerbahce in Group B, in a one and done playoff game.
Dynamo Kursk went on to win the final. UMMC won their 3rd place game against USK Prague, led by Meesseman’s double double, but clearly it was a let down after going 36-2 for the season.
So that made the Russian League Championship a big deal. This was a five game series between the two powerhouses. Kursk had a chip on their shoulder. Not surprisingly by veteran leader Angel McCoughtry, in particular.
But you cannot bet against Diana Taurasi. As even a casual observer knows, who came alive in games four and five to pull away with wins, after falling completely flat in games two and three.
UMMC won games one, four and five. Leaving Kursk with no real claim to the ELW title by beating them in a multi-game series. So that is unfinished business for next year, no doubt, and saved their otherwise, excellent season.
What Mystics fans might appreciate is the connection that has developed between Kristi Toliver and Emma Meesseman while the Mystics have begun their training camp.
There is no dispute that winning things, together, makes people stronger. I am definitely looking forward to seeing Toli and Meesse integrate into the Mystics lineup shortly.