A last second three-pointer from Zuzanna Zirkova lifted Gambrinus Brno to victory in the opener of their EuroLeague Women quarter-final play-off series with Lotos Gdynia.
In what was a tense encounter, Zirkova's heroics in the clutch proved to be the difference for Brno.
The match-up was always going to be a close one. The two sides have a wealth of experience in the EuroLeague Women and last faced each other in the 2004 Final Four, a game which Gdynia won.
|Brno hero Zuzana Zirkova|
It was nip and tuck throughout the entire 40 minutes. Brno maintained a small advantage in the first half, but a Deanna Nolan jump shot gave Gdnia their first lead of the game at the end of the third quarter, 49-50.
It was Gdynia's turn to edge in front in the fourth, but Brno soon caught up and the lead changed hands no less than seven times in the final 10 minutes.
With one minute remaining, Zirkova split a pair of free throws to give Brno a 1-point lead, 62-61. But Elaine Powell answered with a jump shot and Gdynia regained the advantage, 62-63.
A missed shot by Brno's Taj McWilliams was rebounded by team-mate Jana Vesela and she was fouled by Nolan. But Vesela made just 1 of 2 free throws and with 17 seconds left and the score tied at 63-63, Gdynia had the chance to win the game.
Guard Elaine Powell played all 40 minutes of the game for Gdynia and committed just one turnover. Unfortunately for her, the turnover came in the last 8 seconds and gave Brno a chance for glory.
It was a chance that the home side used to perfection, and Zirkova's three-pointer was the game winner.
Taj McWilliams led Brno with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Other than her clutch three, Zirkova struggled, finishing with 8 points on 2/6 shooting.