Ashdod Spoil Ramla’s Party
Orli Klinger ,04/30/2012
The women’s playoffs finals is going the distance for the first time in 5 years, thanks to Ashdod’s huge win in Ramla. Ashdod came back from a 14 point deficit and managed to surpass 60 points for the first time in the series in route to a 67-57 victory. Plenette Pierson, who received the season MVP trophy at the half, carried her team with an impressive performance including 12 points in the 4th quarter to ruin Ramla’s planned celebration.

Ramla 57 – Ashdod 67
Ashdod forced a 5h and deciding game in Ramla’s jam packed gym, led by the season MVP – Plenette Pierson who finished with 25 points, 16 boards and 7 assists. Ramla actually got off to a great start led by Alana Beard who scored 15 points in the first half, they led 23-12 after 10 minutes. The double digits lead was intact mid way through the 2nd quarter, but Ashdod was much more disciplined today and was able to close the half on a 13-3 run by going inside, getting two rare 3-pointers to go and playing triangle and two on Wright & Beard, 33-33 at the half.

The 3rd quarter was tight, nerve wrecking and quite ugly as we’ve grown accustomed to in this series. Ashdod led 42-41 going into the 4th. Led by Pierson, Ashdod scored 25 points in the final 10 minutes and broke away to win by 10, though the game was a lot closer than what the final score indicates. Ramla cut it to 51-55 with under 4 minutes to go, but Ashdod was more determined and never let Ramla gain the momentum. Ramla deserves some credit for that as well as they suffered from a very weak night for Wright & Selwyn, who combined for 10 points on 3 for 17 shooting.

“Sometimes players want it so much that nothing works and I knew it would get better”, said Edni Dagan about his team falling 6-20 early on after Ramla made a 17-0 run. “I think this was our best game of the series, on defense we focused on Tanisha and when she scores 6 points it’s difficult for them to reach 60 and win”, he continued. “We focused on Tanisha all series, we didn’t do anything new just that the players showed a lot of character and decided that today isn’t just about talking but also about doing. Beard kind of killed us today which wasn’t in our plans, we’ll have to improve on that. This win is all about the players, they were exceptional, they wanted it bad and worked hard. On Thursday we’ll find out if this win is really big or not, I hope it’s huge”.

Ashdod got the win despite the fact Ramla turned the ball over only 8 times, as Ashdod got just 3 steals for the game. How? Ashdod shot 51% from inside the arc tonight, a drastic improvement compared to the first 3 games. They also got a great game from Brasheeda Elohim who started and played smart, a solid and successful day for Nomi Kolodny , an under control game from Tamera Young who finished with 9 points on good shooting and above all was Pierson’s stellar performance with 25 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists and 20 gallons of leadership (how do you measure leadership?).

“I think they underestimated us a little but we never doubted ourselves”, said Plenette Pierson at the end. “We didn’t expect the series to be like this, to be playing with our backs against the wall down 1-2. We did it the hard way, we have heart and we believe in ourselves. We want this championship just as much as they do”, continued the season MVP. She said that Young’s 72 hour trip to the US for her brother’s wedding did not affect the team. “We’re all professional players and we understand that sometimes there are circumstances that you can’t control. She went home and came back with an attitude that she doesn’t want to have to fly all the way back after just one game”, said Pierson. “We tried to stay together like a band of sisters and get this game. I owe it all to my teammates for getting me the ball in great position, they never gave up on me, they believed that I could go to the basket and get something done and I believed in them kicking it back out. The credit goes to the team for having the confidence in me”, she added.

“Basketball is a game of runs, and when you go on a run early things can change. We have a short rotation and it’s hard. I congratulate Ashdod for the game”, said Adan Inbar at the end. About his captain and star player finishing the game with 6 points, Inbar stated what sometimes seems easy to forget. “Tanisha is human, people should remember that. This is the 8th straight game where defenses key on her, today wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but she’s human. Thursday will be a new day. Unlike others I have a long term memory and I have nothing but admiration for what she has done in the last 1.5 months”, he continued. “Tonight we got out of our game plan offensively and defensively, if we get back to what we should do the game on Thursday could go either way”.

For Elizur Ramla:
Alana Beard 23 pts
Le'Coe Willingham 9 pts
Michal Epstein 8 pts
Amber Harris 7 pts
Tanisha Wright 6 pts
Laine Selwyn 4 pts

For Maccabi Ashdod:
Plenette Pierson 25 pts
Naomi Kolodny 12 pts
Brasheeda Elohim 9 pts
Tamera Young 9 pts
Ashley Shields 7 pts
Brittany Denson 5 pts

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