|Sparta&K Moscow Region's Candice Dupree led all scorers with 24 points, 20 of which came in the hotly contested first half|
Sparta&K Moscow Region stayed hot on the heels of Wisla Can Pack Krakow at the top of EuroLeague Women Group C by prevailing 79-60 at Gospic Croatia.
Candice Dupree came up just short of equaling her season high, pouring in 24 points.
The American had 25 in last month's victory over Frisco Sika Brno.
Dupree had 20 points in the first half on Thursday when Spartak took the lead for good.
While the hosts fell to 4-7 and saw their hopes of reaching the EuroLeague Women post-season fade a little more, Sparta&K improved to 8-3.
With three games to go, Wisla (9-2) have a one-game lead over Sparta&K.
The game was knotted at 29-29 with 4:08 to play when Seimone Augustus and Dupree hit back-to-back jump shots.
After Julie McBride scored for Gospic to cut the Russian team's advantage to 33-31, Sonja Petrovic buried a jumper to spark an 8-0 Sparta&K surge to close the first half.
Dupree's two free-throws were the last two points of the first half and gave Sparta&K a 41-31 lead.
Pokey Chatman's team then got jumpers from Marina Kuzina and Becky Hammon to start the third quarter and led 45-31.
Gospic got the deficit back to seven in the third quarter but got no closer.
McBride had 21 points to lead Gospic, who had no other player reach double digits.
Croatia international Sandra Mandir had a tough night for Gospic, missing all nine of her shots from the field and scoring just four points - well below her season average of 13.2.
Sparta&K M.R Vidoje Head Coach Pokey Chatman
"We knew that the game against Gospic CO would be difficult, for this is a team that likes to play offense and has a lot of pick-and-rolls, but are also dependent on their 3-point shots. In the first part of the game, Gospic CO played well. Later on, they made our job easier by missing a lot of their 3-pt shots. The final result does not show the way the game was played overall, because we came to this large difference in the last two minutes. We watched a lot of games of Gospic so we came well prepared."
Gospic CO Head Coach Stipe Bralić
"It is true that the end result is much higher than the way the game was played on the court. We did our best in all the elements of the game, but we missed a lot of 3-point shots. All together we made 13% of our 3-pt shots and that's not a lot when you're playing against a team like Sparta&K. Sparta&K is one of the best teams in Europe. Even though the opponents were not lucky in their shots, they still won fairly and played very well. We are physically inferior to them and the only way we can play well is to attack with all we've got, but even that wasn't enough."
Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje player Jelena Milovanović
"The more Gospic CO missed their 3-point shots, the easier it was for us to win the game. This team is an excellent team because they like to play offense but they didn't shoot as well as they normally do. I congratulate the Gospic team on a fair game and I wish them much success in their future games."
Gospic CO player Jelena Ivezić
"Our game consists of speed, where our 3-pt shots are dominant but we just weren't able to get these shots today. We have three games left and this team will not give up. We'll play the best we can up until the end. In the last three games we will play to win, but we won't give up hope."