Fener Through, Sparta&K Going Home

20.03.2013

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

11. Raffaella Masciadri (Famila Schio), 5. Agnieszka Bibrzycka (Fenerbahce)
Agnieszka Bibrzycka kept busy off the bench for Fenerbahce, giving her team the momentum going into the second half

Turning Point: Sparta&K put themselves 66-65 ahead, but then endured a near four minute drought, only managing a single free-throw up until the very final second of the contest when Evegniia Beliakova sunk a three-ball with the game already lost.

Game Heroes: Cappie Pondexter and Angel McCoughtry were both in scintillating form for the winning team. The former had a game-high 26 points, whilst the latter claimed a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds. The duo also combined for six steals.

Stats Don't Lie: Seimone Augustus and Candice Dupree have been hugely influential as the main offensive weapons for Sparta&K this season, but unfortunately for the Russian club, both shot a below-par 37.5% in this vital game. A total of 17 points from turnovers for Fener was also important.

Fenerbahce marched into the EuroLeague Women Final Eight semi-finals as Group B winners, after a thrilling 73-70 success sent Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje home and punched the last four ticket of Bourges.

In an absorbing and intense match-up, Sparta&K just couldn't find the execution they needed down the stretch, with head coach Pokey Chatman conveying the feelings of her players after the game, saying, "our emotion is one of huge disappointment, because they are prideful players and they knew the possibilities.

"It's tough playing against a team with great rebounding guards who have size and quickness. You have to win the battle on the boards and I think we gave up too many second chance points."

Whilst the absence of Rebekka Hammon was a factor, Chatman refused to use it as an excuse for the defeat and praised the contribution of young Slovenian playmaker Nika Baric who played almost 20 minutes.

Sparta&K knew they had to win and started briskly, an Augustus jump shot putting them 21-12 ahead and they would soon be in a commanding position at 25-15 after Marina Kuzina converted from distance.

By the midway point of the contest, Fener were still 41-35 behind, but McCoughtry sparked their revival with some energetic plays and that helped them manoeuvre themselves in a slender 54-53 advantage by the time the final quarter arrived.

After a brilliant assist by Baric to Natalie Vieru, who also had a fine game in defeat, the pendulum looked to have swung the way of Sparta&K at 64-60.

However, there was to be a late twist as they dried up offensively, leaving the door open fo Fenerbahce to take the win and top spot in the group .

 

 


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