|Candace Parker repaid her coaches' faith in her, picking up a 17-point, 16-rebound double-double |
Turning Point: CCC Polkowice worked hard to drag themselves back into the contest at 44-38, having been 16 points behind. But, they only managed five points during the next 12 minutes either side of the third and fourth quarter break as UMMC eased to victory.
Game Hero: Candace Parker finished with 17 points on seven-of-ten of floor shooting and also added 13 rebounds in a performance typical of her fine form in the competition this season.
Stats Don't Lie: Valeriya Musina, Belinda Snell and Agnieszka Majewska were an eye-watering four-of-24 combined from the field and that killed CCC Polkowice as they finished shooting below 30% as a team.
Host club UMMC Ekaterinburg extended their unbeaten home record with a 68-45 victory against CCC Polkowice to get off to a winning start at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight.
Even if the favourites did not click into top gear offensively, UMMC head coach Olaf Lange was left delighted with his teams' defensive effort.
He insisted, "I think our defence was exceptional tonight.
"I have tremendous respect for CCC Polkowice as a team and I think to hold them to just 45 points on a night when we turned the ball over, was the foundation for the win."
"I am very happy with the result and especially because we didn't play in the play-offs."
He added, "It took us a little while to get started and we didn't shoot the ball well or have our usual offensive flow, but all things considered, we are happy with this first game which is always difficult."
Candace Parker repaid the faith they placed in her by giving her priority over Sue Bird by producing a game-winning display on opening night.
The forward was flying right from the tip-off, opening up with the first six points of the contest and making six of her first seven attempts to get Ekat rolling.
They led 21-14 after the first period and then put the defensive squeeze on CCC Polkowice who laboured in the second quarter and failed to reach double-digits.
They didn't score during the last couple of minutes leading up to the half-time break and following a three-pointer by Anete Jekabsone, Parker finished the scoring for Ekat to underline their supremacy and her excellent individual work at 35-22.
When they returned to the court, Polkowice looked almost dead and buried at 39-23, but a three-ball by Laia Palau kept their feint hopes alive by sparking a 12-2 renaissance.
But, just when the Polish side looked like they might potentially cause a surprise, UMMC exploded and finished the game with a 20-6 final quarter as Polkowice ran out of gas.
The icing on the cake for Ekat came when Russian legend Maria Stepanova scored in the final moments ahead of Polish center Ewelina Kobryn sinking a basket on the final buzzer.