Rivas Edge Brno On The Road To Force Decider

Rivas Ecopolis came back from a terrible start to edge out Frisco Sika Brno in a nail-biting thriller to set up a mouth watering third and decisive series game in Madrid next week with a place in the last eight at stake.

Both teams started the game looking nervous with Dewanna Bonner air-balling a triple attempt and then turnovers by Jelena Skerovic and Anna Cruz.

Bonner however soon found her rhythm after making a lay-up off an offensive rebound and converting another lay-up to score her teams first points. It set the tone for a strong opening period by the home team.

Against an already desperate looking opponent whose hopes suddenly appeared top be fading even at this early stage, Frisco Brno closed the quarter with a 13-2 run to take a comfortable 21-10 lead.

What happened shortly afterwards turned the game on its head and left the Czech fans shocked and the Madrid bench excited as the visitors soon began to make up the deficit.

By the time Jelena Dubljevic finished her three-point play with 7:20 to go in the second, Rivas had clawed their way back to make it a one-shot game at 21-18. Vastly improved on defence and finishing on the fast break, their burst of scoring left Brno helpless to stop a stunning 14-0 run which showed Rivas 24-21 ahead on the scoreboard.

Thankfully for Brno, the classy Bonner ended the scoring drought of Brno and Grima followed with a lay-up to show some vital signs for the home side and by the time Skerovic hit a tough three-pointer it was 29-30 at the break with the game finely poised.

The second half started badly for Brno and when Skerovic was called for an unsportsmanlike foul, Clara Bermejo hit the free throws and Spanish international Anna Cruz scored on the following possession the Spanish were on top of a 9-point lead. They then extended that into double figures at 37-47 with 3:20 to play in the third quarter.

Rivas were still up by ten at 47-57 with 5:50 to go but Bonner and Horakova brought their team back into striking distance with fearless drives to the hoop and some tough lay-ups to close the gap to just 3 points heading towards the final minute.

With exactly sixty seconds remaining, Anna Cruz stepped up big time for her team and willed in a lay-up after a quick spin move to give Madrid a priceless five point cushion at 59-64.

Dubljevic then missed a lay-up in traffic and Petra Ujhelyi fouled Hana Horakova to avoid a game tying three-pointer with 13 sec to go.

Horakova made both and Brno fouled shooter Catherine Joens after the inbound.

She drained both and Ujhelyi fouled Horakova again midcourt before she could get into striking distance.

She missed the second and veteran Taj Mc Williams was there with the offensive board.

Mc Williams missed the put back try however and Jelena Dubljevic put the win beyond doubt when she made her first free throw and missed the second with only 3 seconds to play after being fouled right after the rebound.

Crystal Langhorne had 19 points and 8 rebounds and Dubljevic also produced an inspired performance with 16 points and 7 rebounds.

Dewanna Bonner's 27 points - the highest score of her EuroLeague Women career were not enough with only Horakova also reaching double digits.


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