|Ros Casares center Isabelle Yacoubou was 8-of-9 from the field and needed only 17 minutes on the floor to score her 16 points|
Spanish giants Ros Casares won for the first time at UMMC Ekaterinburg on Wednesday, 81-63, to strengthen their bid for a first-place finish in EuroLeague Women Group A.
The Russian club, which blew an 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter in Valencia in the first meeting between the two powerhouses this season and lost 60-52, wanted to avenge that setback.
Instead, they saw their three-game winning streak in Europe come to end.
Isabelle Yacoubou had 16 points in 17 minutes for the Valencia team while Ann Wauters had 15 points against her former club.
Lauren Jackson also played well again as she continues to battle back from an injury-plagued year.
The Australian scored 15 points, including 12 in the first quarter when Ros went in front for good.
The visitors had an inauspicious start when Maya Moore fouled Anete Jekabsone and sent her to the line for three free-throws.
The Latvian made all three, and then pushed the lead to 5-0 by sinking a jumper on Ekaterinburg's next possession.
Jackson and Wauters then followed with back-to-back three-point plays as Ros Casares went in front.
UMMC's last lead came when Candace Parker and Sue Bird hit successive jump shots for a 13-12 advantage.
Jackson answered with a shot from the arc to take her points haul to 10 and Ros Casares never trailed again.
Yacoubou scored four points in a 6-0 run to stretch the Ros Casares lead to 23-15 with 3:09 to play in the quarter.
The visitors' biggest lead of the half came with 1:12 to go in second quarter when Sancho Lyttle had a three-point play for a 46-32 advantage.
UMMC got no closer than 10 points in the third quarter, or nine in the fourth as Ros won convincingly.
Spanish international playmaker Silvia Dominguez tormented the UMMC defense with nine points and a game-high seven assists.
Yacoubou's France teammate Sandrine Gruda led Ekaterinburg, who fell to 9-4, with 20 points.
Gruda was only seven of 16 from the floor.
While Ros are trying to finish ahead of Galatasaray, their Group A opponents next week in Valencia, UMMC now know they will finish in third place.
Ros Casares Head Coach Roberto Iniguez
"I am lucky to have my team, today it demonstrated great game of high level. We were strong on defense and in one on one plays. Ekaterinburg is a strong team and it was a good test for us. We could play with no rush to win in every moment."
UMMC Head Coach Algirdas Paulauskas
"It was a bad day for us. We were not strong enough on defense and our opponent got confident enough to be good on offense. Our score percentage was 52% in the first half and lessened to 41% in the second. We could not work out convenient situations and missed our shots. We lost a lot of rebounds and the Spanish team answered with 2 points each with fouls. We also got Anete Jekabsone injured and it caused damage to our team."
Ros Casares player Ann Wauters
"For me personally it is an evening that brought good memories of the time I was playing at UMMC. It was also a good test for us of how we feel in the EuroLeague Women. UMMC is one of the best EuroLeague teams. I am happy and proud for our team. But it's only one game, we have another one coming soon. In spite of a few injuries I think UMMC is in good shape and will be able to play better soon."
UMMC player Sue Bird
"Obviously the game tonight was not what we expected. Still we must give a lot of credit to Ros Casares who demonstrated a good game and full of talents. On the other hand, our team couldn't get the game rhythm and the result must be a sort of wake-up call to make the necessary changes. UMMC is a strong team and we have a couple of months to make improvements, whatever it takes."