Avenida Stun Ekat, Boost Play-Off Hopes

30.01.2013

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

10. Marta Xargay (Perfumerias Avenida)
Marta Xargay topped scoring for Perfumerias Avenida with 14 points

After a campaign full of frustration, Perfumerias Avenida swept away previous disappointments in one fell swoop with a 65-57 victory against UMMC Ekaterinburg, shattering the last unbeaten record in EuroLeague Women.

On a night to remember for the triumphant locals in Salamanca, Avenida gave their play-off prospects a huge shot in the arm with the win, a success which now means victory at bottom placed Novi Zagreb next week will see them safely into the play-offs.

Few people would have given them much hope prior to the tip-off against an imperious Ekat side that had won all ten of their previous games and is arguably sports one of the most star-studded lineups in the competition's history.

But, that didn't matter to Avenida on a rousing night when they played with incredible energy and court smarts. They fed off the energy that cascaded down from the supporters, no doubt wanting to taste that sweet winning feeling which characterised their run to the title a couple of years ago.

Throughout the first half, Avenida stood toe-to-toe with the tournament favourites, trading baskets at a brisk pace. Most people expected the visitors to re-emerge for the second-half engaged in a higher gear, but it didn't happen.

That was mainly due to the endeavours of Avenida and also their defence in a low-scoring third quarter which they won 10-9, meaning they led 50-47 going into the last quarter.

Still, Ekat didn't manage to impose themselves and as the minutes ticked down, Avenida started to believe more and more, rather than allowing nerves or doubts to creep in.

It was still a three point game at 57-54 with four minutes left, but Avenida dug deep and showed great resolve to prevent Ekat from spoiling the party as subsequent baskets by Marija Rezan and Marta Fernandez along with free-throws in the closing stages, eventually sealed the deal.

Only Marta Xargay had a remotely respectable shooting night with 14 points but it was all about rebounding for Avenida and both Rezan and LeCoe Willingham delivered on that front with a precious 22 boards between them.

Diana Taurasi had 20 points in defeat.


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