Spartak Claim EuroCup Women Title


Spartak Moscow claimed the 2005-2006 EuroCup Women’s title following a 72-66 win over Pays D’Aix and won the two-game series by a combined score of 152-131.

Spartak entered the game knowing they need only a victory or loss of 14 points or less to claim the best-of-two series.

The Russian club was given a scare early and trailed by as much as 11 with 6:39 to go in the second quarter.

Spartak responded by going on a 16-3 run to close the first half to remove any doubt of losing the series.

"I am very happy and satisified for this team," said the winning head coach Nedelko Lazic.

Linda Fröhlich and Ticha Penicheiro ignited the second quarter run by hitting a pair of three-pointers.

Penicheiro hit another jumper and Lisa Leslie’s lay-up with 3:37 to go in the quarter allowed Spartak to get within three, 36-33.

Gordana Grubin hit a jumper to close the gap to one and her lay-up with two minutes remaining allowed Spartak to re-take the lead, 37-36.

From that point on, Spartak would never trail in the game en route to the title.

"It's never good when you are trailing by 11 points at home," Lazic said.

"But we started to play better defense and that led to us getting some points down low and so we were able to get ahead."

Spartak went into the halftime locker room leading 39-37 and would increase their lead to three after three quarters, 54-51.

Pays D'Aix remained close throughout the game and with 3:15 to go in the fourth quarter, they were within two at 64-62.

But once again Spartak closed a half strong, scoring the next six points, four which came from Leslie, to open up a 70-62 lead with just over one minute remaining.

As the final buzzer sounded, Spartak players celebrated their title.

"This victory means a lot for this club and for this region," said Lazic. 

"Hopefully it will lead to more girls playing basketball and more teams in our area. I hope that they will use this win to promote because this is the year of women's basketball."

Leslie came up with another huge performance for Spartak with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

"Lisa Leslie is the best player in the world - there is no doubt about that," said Lazic.

"But she is also a great person with great work ethic. She's number one and she proved that tonight.

Fröhlich tallied 16 points and nine rebounds, while Penicheiro came up with 11 assists.  

The team effort was a point that Lazic reinforced to his club.

"I told them at halftime that if we played individually, we would not succeed because Pays D’Aix are a tough team. But if we played as a team, then we would win."

Anastasia Kostaki led the way for Pays D'Aix with 22 points.


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