Convincing Win Puts Kursk In Driver's Seat Against Gala

12 March 2009

Dynamo Kursk appear to have put one foot in the EuroCup Women final on Thursday by winning decisively at home against Galatasaray.

The Russian team led by as many as 18 points before settling for a 61-47 triumph.

Sandra Valuzyte (Dynamo Kursk)
Sandra Valuzyte had a season-high 18 points for Dynamo Kursk
Russian Anastasia Fomina and Lithuania international Sandra Valuzyte each had a season-high 18 points for Kursk, who will look to finish the job next Thursday in Istanbul.

Galatasaray have been one of the favorites since the start of the competition but they knew the trip to Kursk would be hard and so it proved to be.

The home side held Gala to just four points until 1:52 remained in the first quarter, with Seimone Augustus' jump shot reducing the Turkish team's deficit to 21-6.

Twice more Kursk went in front by 17 before Galatasaray finally found some rhythm and closed the gap to 31-24 with 1:50 left in the second quarter.

The last basket of the period was scored by Fomina, a three-pointer, and Kursk went to half-time with a 34-24 lead.

Fomina had 12 points at the break and Valuzyte nine.

Algirdas Paulauskas' team kept the pressure on when play resumed and looked to be on the verge of a blowout victory with 1:44 to go in the third after two Svetlana Maksimenko (11 pts) free throws provided them with a 48-30 advantage.

Galatasaray, with only Augustus (12 pts) reaching double digits, pulled to within nine in the fourth quarter.

They ended up losing by 14 and now have a mountain to climb to reach the final.

Kursk were 13 of 31 inside the arc, seven of 23 beyond it and 14 of 20 at the free throw line.

Galatasaray endured an almighty struggle shooting the ball, hitting just 15 of 47 from two-point range and three of 12 from three-point land.

They made eight of 10 at the charity stripe.

Augustus hit just six of 20 from the floor, and Sophia Young, averaging 14.2 points per game in the competition, was two of 11 and scored eight points.

Belarus international Marina Kress had 10 rebounds to go with her seven points for Gala.

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