EuroCup Women Final
|Le'Coe Willingham of Elitzur Ramla led all scorers with 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting from the floor|
Elitzur Ramla battled back from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter against Arras on Thursday night to draw the first leg of the EuroCup Women Final.
Playing at home in Israel, Ramla trailed for most of the game but launched a stirring fight-back in the last frame with the game ending 61-61.
The second leg will be played in France next week.
Ramla, who ended the title defense of Sony Athinaikos in the Semi-Finals, trailed 51-39 after a lay-up by the excellent Olesia Malashenko of Arras.
With the hosts chipping away at the deficit, Ukraine international Malashenko drilled a three-pointer with 3:32 to take her team's advantage back to 56-47.
Tanasha Wright scored for Elitzur Ramla, only for Krissy Bade of Arras to lay one up and in with 2:03 to play to make it 58-49.
Adan Inbar's Ramla side dug deep.
Le'Coe Willingham scored on a put-back of Wright's missed lay-up and drew a foul before turning it into a three-point play.
Laine Selwyn followed with a three-ball for her first points of the game before Shay Doron sank two free-throws to reduce the arrears to 58-57 with 48 seconds still to play.
Arras coach Bruno Blier called a timeout to settle his troops down and when play resumed, Pauline Akonga drew a foul from Willingham and made one of two.
Shay Doron leveled the contest at 59-59 only for Akonga to get back to the stripe and sink two more for a 61-59 Arras lead 16 seconds from time.
Ramla leveled the game again, though, when Doron fed Willingham and the American powered her way up for another lay-up, and a game-high 23 points.
Wright poured in 17 points and corralling 12 rebounds.
Malashenko's 18 points led Arras while France international Marielle Amant had a game-high 13 rebounds to go with her eight points.
Ramla struggled offensively, shooting just 33.9% (21 of 62) from the floor while Arras were 25 of 63.
Ramla had a nightmare from long range, sinking just two of 21 attempts, while also making 17 of 28 free-throws.
Arras were five of 13 from three-point range and six of 12 at the stripe.