NETANYA (Israel) - Unstoppable Neftchi picked up their second stop win in Israel as they defeated top-seeded China 12 - 16 to win the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Netanya Stop 2023 on July 3.
Here’s a rundown of the action on the ninth stop of the season.
The Winners: Neftchi
While they came into the event as the seventh seed, there was no questioning their mettle. Having already won in Shusha, they have shown just how ruthless they can be. They started their tournament by rocking the second seeded Netherlands off the back of a monstrous performance by Brianna Fraser, first of many. They dispatched off Gyor before another huge offensive showing by Fraser put away Lithuania.
Each game showcased their individual strengths. Dina Ulyanova and Alexandra Mollenhauer were disrupters on defense as Arica Carter orchestrates the court.
They took on Israel in the semi-finals. Alyssa Baron and Drew Edelman combined for all 15 of their points, but it just wasn’t enough to take on the lethal side from Azerbaijan as they headed for another finals appearance.
The overwhelming favorites heading into Netanya, their run started with a close shave against Israel. Edelman showcased what makes her one of the most dangerous hoopers in 3x3, taking over the boards and scoring. With a 2 point lead and 36 seconds to go, Israel went to the line. They would miss both, allowing Lili Wang to make the comeback. Two consecutive two pointers from her, one to take it to OT and the other to ice it granted China a narrow win. They beat Sc. Yuanda before dismantling Czech Republic in group play.
They faced off against Sc. Yuanda yet again in the semi-finals, the result remaining the same. The duo of Wang and ZhiTing Zhang ran riot yet again. It set up the finals clash against Neftchi, the only other two with a stop win this season in the Women’s Series.
China 12 - 16 Neftchi
The game plan from Neftchi was clear from the jump - physicality. Get on top of China’s usual plays, neutralizing the size and speed benefit they had. Ulyanova proved to be crucial early on, grabbing crucial rebounds to create offensive opportunities while finishing some herself. Mollenhauer intercepted numerous passes which stopped China from building momentum.
A back-and-forth game for the most part, it was with 4 minutes to go when Neftchi started to take control. A huge two by Carter followed by another bucket have them a three point lead, one they never let go off. Another timely two by Carter made it 9-13 with a minute to go, sealing China’s fate.
China tried though, Ji Yuan Wan got a two and a bucket to close the lead to two before China put Carter on the free throw line. She made both her shots, taking them to their second stop win this series, 12 - 16.
MVP - Brianna Fraser
Brianna Fraser was unstoppable. Finishing the event as the top scorer with 36 points, she was the machine that made Neftchi tick. Neftchi have made their mark in the Women’s Series this year, and Fraser has been the key to their success.
1. Neftchi (AZE)
4. Sc. Yuanda (CHN)
6. Gyor (HUN)
8. Czech Republic
Switzerland is the place for the next stop with FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Fribourg stop 2023 takes place on July 6 - 7.