Valdemoro Drives Europe To Victory

13.03.2008

Amaya Valdemoro poured in 18 of her game-high 25 points in the first half to propel Europe to a decisive win over the Rest of the World team at the EuroLeague Women All Star Game in Vidnoje, Moscow Region.

The Spain international and CSKA Moscow star finished the game five of nine from three-point range and earned MVP honours.

FIBA Europe Player of the Year Award, Anete Jekabsone-Zogota
FIBA Europe Player of the Year Award, Anete Jekabsone-Zogota received her award by the FIBA Europe President George Vassilakopoulos

As a reward, she received a Mercedez-Benz and celebrated by driving her CSKA teammates around the floor.

"I'm going to keep my driver in Russia, though," she said after, laughing.

There were no empty seats in the 4,500-capacity arena where Spartak won last year's EuroLeague Women Final Four.

On Thursday, it was unquestionably the heartbeat of the basketball world with superstars like Australian Lauren Jackson, Americans Diana Taurasi, Delisha Milton-Jones, Cappie Pondexter and Sue Bird turning out for the Rest of the World.

Europe had Russia's newest citizen, South Dakota-born Becky Hammon of CSKA, and the likes of Valdemoro, who also won the MVP award at last year's EuroBasket Women in Italy.

Immediately after tip-off, the game was stopped for Anete Jekabsone-Zogota to receive her honor as the FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year.

Once play started, Taurasi's three-ball accounted for the game's first points but Valdemoro quickly took center stage.

Three-point shoot-out contest winner, Edwige Lawson-Wade
Three-point shoot-out contest winner, Edwige Lawson-Wade

She buried three shots from behind the arc, the third with 3:46 remaining in the first quarter for a 19-16 lead, to put Europe in front for good.

By half-time the lead was 56-44 in favour of Europe.

After Greece's Theo Papaloukas and Evi Maltsi won the Mixed Couples Shooting Contest and CSKA Moscow's France playmaker Edwige Lawson-Wade pipped Maltsi in the Three-Point Shooting Contest, Europe returned to the court and pulled away for a decisive win.

Milton-Jones had been her usual excellent self in the first half to keep the Rest of the World side within striking distance, but by the end Pondexter, the sensational Fenerbahce playmaker, had 24 points to lead their scorers.

Maria Stepanova finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds for Europe.

 


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