|Laura Nicholls took over the game for Rivas Ecopolis, registering 23 points in the win over Nadezhda|
Laura Nicholls took centre stage for Rivas Ecopolis as she registered the highest EuroLeague Women score of her career to fuel a 90-71 Group B win against struggling Nadezhda Orenburg.
The Spanish national team player poured in 23 points as Rivas picked up a second success to pile more misery onto their Russian opponents, who lost at home during week one of the competition and were trashed domestically last weekend.
Dewanna Bonner did her best to spoil the party against her ex-employers whom she once led to historic Copa de la Reina glory, but her 18 points and 14 rebounds in addition to 20 points from Temeka Johnson weren't sufficient.
There was also an unhappy return for Anna Cruz who left Rivas in the summer to head for Russia having been the main player in the run by Rivas to the EuroLeague Women Final in 2012.
Nadezhda were second best for the most part and especially during the early exchanges, although they did briefly lead 54-53.
However they inexplicably imploded defensively during the final quarter, going into complete meltdown as Rivas outscored them 29-15 to run away with the win.
The result heaps more pressure onto experienced Lithuanian head coach Algirdas Paulauskas, whilst Rivas revelled in an excellent team display with four other players in addition to Nicholls making it into double-figures.
Rivas Ecópolis head coach José Ignacio Hernández
"We were the better team for the whole game. We played as a team and kept our post players from getting into foul trouble. Our players showed great solidarity on the court, and that let us take this victory. I think no one expected us to be able to post 90 points without Frida Eldebrink."
Nadezhda head coach Algirdas Paulauskas
"We didn't guard their post players at all, we played no defence, especially in the first quarter and in the later part of the game. We tried to play some zone and came back in the score, but in the end we had too many turnovers and let their tall players dominate the game."
Rivas Ecópolis power forward Laura Nicholls
"I'm so happy about the way we played. Right now, I'm playing with lots of confidence, and that's because the trust the Coach has in me. I think that this team is capable of reaching anywhere right now."
Nadezhda shooting guard Anna Cruz
"It has been special to play again in Rivas, and it felt strange to be on the visiting team. I'm so happy about the reaction of the local fans. We tried to play hard, but the Rivas players were having a good shooting day, and they deserved the win in the end."