Degbeon leads Düsseldorf ZOOS to victory at FIBA 3x3 Baku Stop 2023
BAKU (Azerbaijan) - Ama Degbeon dominates for Düsseldorf ZOOS as they beat Germany 14 - 15 to win FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Baku Stop 2023 on August 22-23.
Here’s the rundown of the nineteenth stop of the season.
The Winners: Düsseldorf ZOOS
If you’ve been keeping up with the Women’s Series this season, you know exactly why the commercial side from Germany won it all. Led by the duo of Ama Degbeon and Aoi Katsura, Düsseldorf ZOOS have probably been the most technically skilful team in the competition. They have made some of the toughest and most clutch plays in the competition and been defensively resolute, but only come as close as the Semi-Finals within the competition.
Their most competitive four took to court in Baku, and they made a statement from the opening game. Facing one of the strongest nations this season in France, they started out strong, showcasing their strengths from the jump. Degbeon was all over the boards, all while handling the size and skill of Jodie Cornelie. Anna Ndjock was cold from two as the ruthless Düsseldorf pushed through. With just under a minute to go, Katsura and Crowder iced the game to pick up a strong win in their opener.
They started off hot against Israel too, even leading by 5 late into the game. The Drew Edelman-led side almost made the comeback though, bringing it to 11-10 but the German side did enough to make it through to Day 2 undefeated.
Their Quarter-Final tie against Lithuania definitely displayed exactly what they’re about. It was a back-and-forth affair for the most part. Jenny Crowder had an excellent scoring game along with Degbeon with the two combining for 12 points.
Lithuania were on fire though, Martyna Petrenaite and Dalia Donskichyte went off for a combined 15 points. Down one point, Katsura drove into the paint to get the tying bucket. With a second to go, Lithuania had the perfect window to grab the winner, but were rejected by Degbeon. She scored a crucial second-chance bucket in OT before Katsura scored a tough middy to get the win.
It was a complete performance against Czechia in the Semi-Finals as Crowder and Katsura scored 7 each while Degbeon scored 5 along with 7 rebounds. The win booked them their first appearance in the final this season.
The Germans had been looking more and more like the contenders they were touted to be at the start of the season. Sonja Greinacher has been crucial to their deep runs, but the addition of Theresa Simon has unlocked the side’s potential.
Their first game against Lithuania was a result of the duo combining with Greinacher scoring 8 points and 3 rebounds while Simon grabbed 5 rebounds with 4 points to boot. They cruised past Azerbaijan next, Svenja Brunckhorst rising to the occasion along with the duo as the three put up a total of 20 points with 6 for Simon and 7 each for Greinacher and Brunckhorst.
Luana Rodefeld was the defensive power on the perimeter along with Brunkhorst. Greinacher mastered the paint on both ends with Simon essentially being the important cog, getting huge rebounds for second-chance points or being lethal with her speedy drives.
It was Rodefeld who took over in the Quarter-Finals against an exuberant French side, scoring 7 points and getting 5 rebounds to lead her side to a Semi-Finals berth. Greinacher was clutch as usual with a 6-6 box score.
Their game against Poland was a total collective effort, Simon, Rodefeld and Brunckhorst putting up 6 points each with Greinacher adding 5. They never let The Poles get rolling on offense with the size of Greinacher being a major deterrent throughout the tournament.
Germany 14 - 15 Düsseldorf ZOOS
It was the usual hot start for the side from Düsseldorf. After the two powerhouses Katsura and Greinacher traded buckets, Degbeon started rolling. She took on the Greinacher assignment on defense while maneuvering past her numerous times in the paint. She scored the next 3 points for her side, all before Germany resumed their fight back. A two from Brunckhorst cut into the lead. Soon enough it was Greinacher who tied things up at 6-6, all before a timely two from Crowder nullified any momentum Germany were looking to get going.
With just over a minute to go, Katsura heaved up a two with the shot clock winding down to drain the bucket, handing them a 3 point lead. Germany swung back through Greinacher who made a long mid-range shot. Rodefeld got the ball soon after and drained the bucket to make it 12-13, but in the process was struck with a technical foul that put Katsura on the line along with retained possession. She drained the free throw, and shrugged off Brunckhorst for a skilful finish. Brunckhorst would score a two but it was just too late as Düsseldorf ZOOS became the second commercial side in the competition to win a stop.
MVP - Ama Degbeon
Ama Degbeon was the heart of Düsseldorf. Her defensive effort was key to their wins. She was fourth in scoring with 23 points along with being second in player value with a 31.1 score. She also led the event in rebounds a whopping 36!
1. Dusseldorf ZOOS (GER)
6. Sc. Yuanda (CHN)
7. Neftchi (AZE)
The FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series heads to Hungary next as the Debrecen stop 2023 takes place on August 27 - 28.