|Ilona Korstin has been reminding her former team-mates to stay grounded this week|
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Legendary Russian star and 2013 EuroCup Women winner, Ilona Korstin has warned her former Dynamo Moscow team-mates not to take it for granted that they will retain their title.
For Korstin knows all about expecting the unexpected, having been at the heart of a dramatic late twist last year, which helped Moscow snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the second-leg at Kayseri Kaski spor.
This time around, the holders are the ones looking to avoid a nasty surprise against Dynamo Kursk, after they amassed an eye-bulging and seemingly unassailable 97-65 lead during the first-leg last week.
"I think Dynamo Moscow have taken a big step towards winning EuroCup Women and it will be very hard for Kursk to win by more than 32 points, but everything is possible in basketball," declared the FIBA Europe Women's Ambassador.
"I was very impressed by the Dynamo Moscow performance on the first-leg.
"The initial 20 minutes of the game were close and both teams fought hard and played some very attractive basketball.
"But when the third quarter started, it was a completely different game.
"Kursk could not make a basket and they didn't come back into things defensively either.
"Moscow continued to play aggressively and made all the second-chance baskets after taking offensive rebounds.
She added, "The Moscow team dominated the second half in both offence and defence."
|Keeping Tina Charles isolated will be a major task for Kursk on the return leg|
The main source of productivity for the defending champions was Tina Charles, who totted up a magnificent 26 points and 17 rebounds to grab the limelight.
Meanwhile USA national team colleague Lindsay Whalen pulled the strings in the backcourt, alongside Ana Dabovic, another to produce a fine game.
However, Korstin was keen to emphasise just how much of a team effort it was, throwing praise on the input of the homegrown players.
She said, "I think Tina Charles had great game, since she was a presence at both ends of the court and she did a good job rebounding.
"But, this win could not be possible without the team-work. Tatiana Vidmer, Nadezhda Grishaeva, Veronika Dorosheva and Irina Sokolovskaya were all motivated and clearly focused on the first game of the final.
"Each of them contributed at the right time of the game."
Dynamo Kursk bounced back by collecting a convincing win in the Russian Premier League play-off quarter-finals last weekend at Energia Ivanovo, with Moscow picking up a similarly impressive 75-55 success at Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje.