Lietuvos Telekomas finished their first ever EuroLeague Women Final Four in third position, after defeating MiZo Pecs on Sunday in Samara.
Lietuvos were not at their best in Friday’s semi-final against Samara, and after a disappointing first quarter against Pecs, the signs for the Lithuanian side looked ominous.
But Lietuvos rallied in the remaining three quarters, grabbing the lead for good in 28th minute, and holding on for a deserved victory.
Aggressive defense from Pecs and good shooting (led by 7 points from Andrea Karolyi) saw them easily take control of the contest, and they led 19-8 at the end of the quarter.
“We were still suffering from the stress of our loss in the semi-final,” explained Lietuvos teleokomas coach Algirdas Paulaskas of his side’s first quarter display. “But I believed in my players.”
And his belief proved justified as Paulaskas’ side slowly began to claw their way back into the game in the second period.
After logging just 2 minutes of playing time in the opening quarter, Rima Valentiene discovered her shooting touch in the second quarter, scoring 9 points and leading a Lietuvos fightback.
Pecs, however, retained a slim advantage and a 3-pointer from Zsófia Fegyverneky at the buzzer, gave Pecs a 34-27 halftime lead.
The third quarter belonged to the Lithuanian side, but it took them 8 minutes to finally get their noses in front. After Jurgita Streimikyte tied the game at 42-42, a third three-pointer from Valentiene gave Lietuvos their first lead of the game.
While Lietuvos’ game went to new heights, Pecs sunk to new lows. The Hungarian side scored just 26 second quarter points, and their lack of offensive punch proved decisive.
“The trouble for us was really on offense,” said Pecs coach Laszlo Ratgeber.
At this level we have only 7 players and it’s very important for all of them to play well. We didn’t have any players on offense with inspiration and after that, all 7 of our players got into foul trouble.”
Dalma Ivanyi, Zsófia Fegyverneky and Timea Beres all played with 4 fouls in the fourth quarter, while Andrea Karolyi fouled out.. Pecs’ troubles translated into a 10-point deficit as Lietuvos surged ahead in the final period.
Pecs had one final glimmer of hope, when a potential 3-point play from Ana Dapo cut the score to 58-62, but she missed the ensuing free throw and Lietuvos made the game safe.
Katie Douglas top scored for Lietuvos with 19 points. after a poor first half, Jurgita Streimikyte scored 12 second half points to finish with 16.
Zsófia Fegyverneky was Pecs’ top player and the 20 year old guard netted 14 points.