Nadezhda Take Down Depleted Prague

15. Anna Cruz (Nadezhda Orenburg)
 Anna Cruz displayed the cool demeanour Nadezhda Orenburg required to eke out the win
Turning Point: With three experienced European stars sitting together injured on the bench in Eva Viteckova, Jana Vesela and Jelena Dubljevic, any chance USK Prague realsitically had of holding on, were significantly reduced when a fourth leader in the shape of Spanish veteran, Laia Palau fouled out with more than five minutes remaining of the contest.

Stats Don't Lie: ZVVZ USK Prague comprehensively lost the battle on the glass 46-30 and that was the key number other than the paltry one minute and 10 seconds played by Czech legend Eva Viteckova, before joining her injured team-mates.
Game Hero: When most of her colleagues were losing their heads, Anna Cruz was the picture of calmness as she produced an assured and impressive display which garnered 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

While Nadezhda Orenburg celebrated a maiden triumph at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight with a 57-55 victory against ZVVZ USK Prague, victorious coach George Dikeoulakos admitted to having mixed emotions afterwards.

The Greek play-caller watched his team labour to an ugly but precious success against their depleted opponents and that meant it tasted decidedly bitter-sweet.

He confirmed, "My eyes are hurting me from watching my team play and that is my first emotion.

"The other other feeling from the game is one of simply being happy to win and I have to congratulate my players for finding a way to succeed, even though they were of control and lost their minds for most of the game.

"We have already talked in the locker room and want to quickly forget this and get our minds straight onto Tango Bourges."

For long periods, Nadezhda were indeed second best and failed to capitalise on Prague being without their key personnel.

Too many turnovers and some poor shooting from downtown were the reasons that it was Prague who found themselves 33-21 in front after Katerina Elhotova converted from the perimeter.

Much of the best play from Prague came from Montenegrin forward Milka Bjelica, who played a big part in helping to frustrate Dewanna Bonner.

But having reduced the gap to five points by the time the last period arrived, Nadezhda then began to really dominate on the boards and it allowed them to level the scores at 51.

Then, with Palau fouling out of the game, they were then able to scrape home by clutching a string of offensive boards and also making free-throws during the last minute.

Bjelica and Elhotova combined for 29 points for Prague.





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