Ros Casares got huge performances from their American duo Delisha Milton-Jones and Katie Douglas and timely three-pointers from club captain Elisa Aguilar to beat Gambrinus Sika Brno in the opening game of their EuroLeague Women quarter-final series on Tuesday.
Milton-Jones had 26 points and Douglas 23 to lead Ros, while Aguilar's three-ball snapped a 44-44 tie midway through the third quarter and put the Spanish team on top for good, though the contest was not decided until the fourth quarter.
Ros twice led by seven points in the first period and went on top by nine (31-22) in the second, but they only went to the changing rooms in front at 34-32.
Gambrinus, winners in the competition two seasons ago, used all of their skill and experience to make things very difficult for Manolo Real's team, the side that finished runners-up last season to Spartak Moscow Region.
But they were undermined by an injury suffered by veteran Hana Machova, who left at the end of the second quarter and did not return.
A pair of Eva Viteckova free throws put the visitors ahead at 40-39 and after Ros went back on top with two Milton-Jones free throws, Hamchetou Maiga scored to make it 42-41 in favour of Gambrinus.
Douglas and Milton-Jones, who had carried Ros offensively in the first half with 12 and 13 points, respectively, then gave center stage to Aguilar who buried a three-ball for a 44-42 lead.
Petra Kulichova replied for Gambrinus to level the scores, but Aguilar struck from long range again to make it 47-44.
This time, the Valencia team stayed in front for the remainder of the game.
There were anxious moments left for the fans, though.
A pair of Viteckova free throws trimmed the Casares advantage to 54-53 at the start of the fourth quarter, only for Marina Ferragut to score at the other end for the hosts.
After a Viteckova jump shot trimmed the Ros Casares lead to 56-55, Douglas responded with a lay-up to restore a three-point lead and Real's team eventually pulled away.
Maiga and Zuzana Zirkova each had 13 points for Gambrinus, while Viteckova finished with 12.
Manolo Real, coach Ciudad Ros Casares:
"It was fundamental to win the first game and we had one more reason to do so with all the problems that we are having. In Brno the game will be different, but we go there with the intention of winning."
Vlastimil Havlik, assistant coach Gambrinus Brno:
"We lost far too many balls did not really connect with our shots. Both teams are very close and I expect us to be able to win the second game at home and then return to play a decider in Valencia."