Robbery in Broad Nightlight
Lior Klinger ,11/17/2008
This was Hapoel’s game for nearly 40 minutes, but Ashdod as usual fought like hell and didn’t give up. A few mistakes by Hapoel down the stretch and big plays by Tamara Moore & Brasheeda Elohim helped Ashdod maintain a perfect record in a very far from perfect game. 69-67 was the final.

Hapoel Tel Aviv 67 – Maccabi Ashdod 69
The rumors are true. This was our first time seeing Hapoel and their foreigners trio is something special. They’re talented, they play with no fear and they are dangerous. It’s a shame the team lacks one or two more players in the rotation to make Hapoel legit.

“For 38 minutes, this was our game” said coach Pini Levi at the end. “A lot of decisions out of inexperience hurt us, we’re a young team but I trust my players and we will surprise a lot more. Tactically this was an excellent game for us, despite it all it was in our hands.”

Hapoel does deserve a lot of credit for making Ashdod look the way they did tonight, but the biggest mistake Ashdod could make is to think that the perfect record means everything’s perfect. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Tight rims or not, that’s no reason to miss point blank layups or not boxout, hoping the rebound would just drop to the longest pair of arms on the court. Another major reason for concern is Sherill Baker, who hit 6 for 29 shots in the last two games from 2-point range.

“I think this was a direct continuation from our last game. We’re not playing well, it shows on the court and in the stat sheet”, said Daliah Bushinski. “Hapoel is an excellent team, we knew that before the game and I can say it with confidence after. This team can give a fight to any team in the league and they’ve done so. We have a lot of problems and we’re trying to work on them, its nicer to do it while we win but we can’t be successful much longer if we don’t make better decisions, especially offensively. I just want to add that Brasheeda came up huge for us today, credit to her”, she concluded.

“Bat El told us at halftime that we have to stick together no matter what, we have a whole season ahead of us and all we can do is stick together. We did come out a lot better in the 2nd half”, said Brasheeda Elohim who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. “In the first half our outside shots weren’t falling, in the 2nd half we tried to push it inside more and get to the line. We stepped up the defense and made some big stops, got big rebounds and it helped our offense too”, she added.

Now would be a good time to point out Hapoel led by 10 at some point during the 3rd quarter, and basically dominated the game through out mainly thanks to a superb game by Diamond Rogers (33 pts, 16 rebs) and a good game for Alex Anderson (17 pts, 11 rebs). With two minutes to go, Hapoel was up by 4. Ashdod’s defense keyed on Tierre Willson and managed to hold her to 8 points, and Hapoel simply has no one to step up in her place.

“Hapoel played tough against everyone, if they had a budget for one more player, one more contributor, they would have won today and in many other games, you have to give them a lot of credit”, said Tamara Moore. She was the best player for Ashdod today with 22 points and 11 boards, but it took her a whole half to start looking for her shot. “I think I play with a coach’s mentality, Daliah and I talk about it a lot. I try to put players in the best position for scoring, not realizing I could be the one in the best position sometimes. I try to get everyone in the flow but not myself at the same time”, she tried to explain, “I’m not surprised we’re 5-0, we’re a good team but we need to use our system to score, when we get away it doesn’t work”.

Ashdod had a tough time with the rims right from the start and Hapoel raced to an 8-4 lead. Rogers with a 3 made it 11-6 before Baker hit a 3 back and Moore with a steal and layup tied it up. Ashdod couldn’t score on fastbreaks either but Moore with a great pass to Elohim for a 3pt play gave Ashdod a 14-11 lead. They would not lead again until the final minutes of the 4th. Hapoel’s American trio got 3 layups and the score was tied at 17 after 1.

Karin Agassi with 5 quick points injected some life into Ashdod’s offense but their defense stopped functioning. Rogers and Willson hit three and Ashdod called timeout, but Willson came back with another 3 and a dish to Rogers to make it 39-32 Hapoel at the half.

Ashdod got off to a good start in the 3rd with a rare jumper for Baker and a just as rare driving layup for Moore, but Shachar Alterman nailed a 3 from way outside to beat the shot clock and drained the energy out of Ashdod, 42-36. Jennifer Humphrey with another frustrating miss on one end and Anderson & Rogers with baskets on the other made it 46-36, six minutes to go. Ashdod responded with key baskets by Lazmi & Moore and a huge three for Elohim to cut it to 1. Alterman with a 3pt play kept Hapoel in front, Ashdod had plenty chances to regain the lead but couldn’t, 52-50 after 3.

Rogers with a drive and a 3 following Ashdod’s silliest turnover of the night made it 57-52 with 7 minutes left. Lazmi then nailed a very big 3 and Moore stole the ball and found Elohim to tie the score quickly. Ashdod again missed a ton of chances to get the lead but after 3 minutes it finally happened, Baker made it 59-57. Anderson answered from the line and Ashdod turned it over again. Rogers with a dish to Anderson and two more points of her own put Hapoel up 63-59, under 2 minutes to play. Elohim cut it to 2 from the line and Willson missed a tough 3. Moore tied the game with a drive, then stole the ball to give Ashdod another possession and scored off an offensive rebound, 65-63. Moore and Elohim made 4 of 4 free throws to hold on to the win.

For Ashdod:
Tamara Moore 22 pts, 11 rebs, 5 ast
Brashida Elohim 17 pts, 10 rebs
Sherill Baker 11 pts, 5 rebs
Bat El Lazmi 8 pts, 4 ast
Jeniffer Humphry 6 pts, 7 rebs
Karin Agasi 5 pts

For Hapoel:
Diamond Rogers 33 pts, 15 rebs
Alex Anderson 17 pts, 11 rebs
Tierre Willson 8 pts
Shahar Alterman 6 pts
Adi Ofir 3 pts

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