Ashdod Didn't Lose
Lior Klinger ,11/10/2008
That seemed to be Ashdod's goal today, there's a difference between playing to win and playing not to lose. Holon came back from 13-points down in the 4th to just 1 with 7 seconds to go with possession but Ashdod held on despite a horrendous 4th quarter, 71–70.

Ashdod 71 – Holon 70
Someone has to tell Ashdod that an early season record, or even any 1st round record, means nothing. Four wins is nice, we're not saying any of those wins should be taken for granted, but that's no reason to start playing out of fear of losing instead of a will to win. Ashdod seemed frozen if not paralyzed for too many stretches during the game, and only a truly awful shooting day for Holon from 3pt-land and the free throw line along with great support from Ashdod's loud fans in crunch time helped Ashdod hold on.

Ashdod led 67-54 with 7:40 to play, but did not score another field goal the rest of the way. Holon came back but couldn't get the lead, Ashdod made four free throws to stay in front but they had a shot clock violation which set up Holon with the final shot, 7.7 seconds left. Ashdod had a foul to give, they used it and Holon inbounded again with 3.9 left. Lin Golan's jumper from the corner was off.

"We came in with a lot of pressure, it was obvious from the first minute" said Daliah Bushinski. "We loosened up a little in the 3rd but in the 4th we stopped playing. I don't want to take away credit from Holon, they deserve it for their comeback but from our standpoint, it's like we played against ourselves", she said. Why Ashdod is so stressed out is a damn good question, we can't figure it out much like we can't figure out how Tamara Moore finishes a game with six shot attempts.

"We didn't allow more than 73 points in any game so far, so we must not be scoring enough", said Meir Eliyahou. "We were close at the end, our defense was excellent but we lacked balance. Ashdod gambled on our threes with their zone and it worked out for them. Despite everything we had the last possession down by 1 with a chance to win. We didn't need much more to win this game", he concluded.

Ashdod went up 7-2 with fastbreak points but in the set game it wasn’t really working. Unnecessary turnovers for Ashdod and four points each by Edwina Brown and Ayana Walker pushed Holon to a 17-9 lead. Ashdod was able to recover as Jennifer Humphrey scored and Tamara Moore found Bat El Lazmi for 3 to cut it to 16-19. The momentum threatened to switch back to Holon as Brown went to the line following a flagrant foul call, but she made just one and both teams made a lot of errors in the remaining two minutes as the score stayed the same, 20 – 16 for the visitors.

The game continued to be messy with no team completing two good plays in a row. Sherill Baker with a three and Humphrey with a basket gave Ashdod the lead back but Walker answered on the other end and left for the bench. Edneisha Curry made it 26-23 before Holon got stuck against the zone. Karin Agassi with four points from the line helped Ashdod lead 30-26 before Adi Lux stopped the drought and Holon came back fast. Bar Gilinski hit a layup in transition, Brown added four quick ones and Walker gave Holon the lead 34-32, timeout Ashdod. A three by Yael Aharonov ended the half on a good note for Ashdod, up 38 – 35.

It looked like Humphrey developed a habit of missing her first shot, grabbing the rebound and putting it back. She had one more play like that and Moore finally took a shot (and made it) to start the quarter well for Ashdod. Curry who was 0 for 4 from downtown at the half picked up where she left off, Shiran Zairy on the other hand did connect but Lazmi & Baker made it 47-40. Ashdod definitely looked better on offense but the paint on defense was still wide open and Holon had a field day. Brown cut it to 47-51 but Brasheeda Elohim with a rare basket (didn't shoot) and Agassi with a 3 increased the gap. Walker made 1 of 4 free throws as the Ashdod fans cheered as loud as they could to make her miss, and Moore found Humphrey inside to make it 63-52 after 3.

Moore found Elohim for a basket that gave Ashdod its biggest lead of the game, 67-54 with 7:40 to go. What happened to Ashdod in the remaining minutes is hard to describe. Bad decisions or just trembling hands, I can't explain it. Holon on the other hand just went inside to Walker and she just didn't miss, even when she took 3 defenders to the basket with her. Baker made two free throws to make it 71-66 before Zairy hit a huge three, under a minute left. After a few more turnovers and a timeout, Ashdod put the ball in Baker's hands. She took a jumper over Golan and missed. Ashdod fought for the offensive rebound and the ball went to Moore, she dribbled away against Brown until the shotclock nearly expired and Ashdod didn't get a shot off with 7.7 seconds left, but Holon couldn't get the game winner in the remaining seconds.

For Ashdod:
Jennifer Humphrey 19 pts, 8 rebs
Sherill Baker 15 pts
Tamara Moore 11 pts, 8 rebs, 7 ast
Karin Agassi 9 pts, 4 rebs
Brasheeda Elohim & Bat El Lazmi 6 pts each
Yael Aharonov 3 pts
Nofar Shalom 2 pts

For Holon:
Ayana Walker 24 pts, 7 rebs
Edwina Brown 20 pts, 6 ast, 5 rebs
Shiran Zairy 11 pts
Edneisha Curry 4 pts, 7 rebs
Hana Haleili 4 pts
Bar Gilinski 3 pts
Adi Lux & Lin Golan 2 pts each

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