Brno Ready to 'Fight’ Spartak For Title

12.04.2008

Gambrinus Brno coach Jan Bobrovsky and his players lived to fight another day after a stunning overtime victory against Bourges in Friday's second game at the EuroLeague Women Final Four.

The Czech giants won 90-81 and are now just one victory away from a second European title in three years, but they will have to overcome defending champions Spartak Moscow Region on Sunday.

"Spartak [Moscow Region] is the best European team at the moment, there's no doubt," Bobrovsky said.

Zuzana Zirková (Gambrinus Brno)
Zuzana Zirková kept Gambrinus Brno in the game early with 28 points.
"If we are to succeed on Sunday, we need to play 200% better than what we played in the semi-final. But we will not surrender in advance.

"We are here to fight."

Spartak, who beat Brno twice in the Qualifying Round, will be confident but also well aware that the Brno club will be geared up for the title game.

Bobrovsky's team was not at its best for nearly three quarters against Bourges, trailing by as many as 17 points.

Once they battled back and managed to force the overtime, Brno veteran Hana Machova believed there was only going to be one winner.

"If you ask me, every team that manages to get back [to the game] from a 17-point deficit then holds the psychological advantage over their opponent in overtime," she said.

Brno were fortunate to dig themselves out of the hole and had Slovakian star Zuzana Zirkova not been in good form, they would have been buried by Bourges.

But Zirkova provided a spark from start to finish and ended up with 28 points.

"I'm sure that my players were nervous, despite appearing to be confident before the game and believed [in themselves]. What's more, they let their opponents shoot at will [in the first half] and that made the situation even worse for us," Bobrovsky said.

Bourges were excellent from long range, particularly Australia international Belinda Snell who buried seven of 11 shots from behind the arc on her way to a game-high 29 points.

"Zirkova was the key player (for us)," Bobrovsky added. "She took a lot of responsibility on offense when the other players were afraid to shoot. But once we got our game going all players showed what they are made of and we played what we can play."

There is a question mark over the status of Spartak's Australia superstar Lauren Jackson. She scored 35 points on Friday in their win over UMMC Ekaterinburg, including 19 in the first half, but played the last part of the game in great discomfort after a blister on the bottom of her foot tore open.

Spartak coach Natalia Hejkova says there was a lot of bleeding, but said: "She'll be able to play."


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