Lietuvos Telekomas pulled off the biggest upset on the opening night of EuroLeague Women action as they overcame last season’s runners-up Valenciennes, 77-73 in Vilnius.
In fact, this was Lietuvos Telekomas’ first ever victory over Valenciennes. In their previous 4 meetings the French team has won by an average of 30 points, making Lietuvos Telekomas’ achievement tonight all the more remarkable.
Having won all of their 14 preseason games, Lietuvos Telekomas came into the game with confidence and it showed in the first quarter. Good defense and 3-point shooting allowed the Lithuanians to take a 1-point advantage into the break (18:17).
|Ann Wauters (left) and Olga Murashkina|
It was an advantage that the home team were able to increase, as aggressive defense held the French to just 9 2nd quarter points, and the lead ballooned to 12 (37:25).
The inevitable fightback came in the second halft as Valenciennes slowly worked their way back into the game. Lietuvos Telekomas’ advantage was cut to just 1-point with 2 minutes and 30 seconds left to play, making for a nervous ending for the home team.
However, strong play from Jurgita Streimikyte-Virbickiene and Irena Baranauskate guided Lietuvos Telekomas to the victory.
Baranauskate was elected game MVP for her contribution of 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Laurent Buffard, Head Coach, USVO:
“We played many games last week. The team is a bit tired after the World Cup. "Lietuvos telekomas" made a good game and Irena Baranauskate was exceptional. It will be hard for other teams to win in Vilnius.”
Algirdas Paulauskas, Head Coach, Lietuvos Telekomas:
“We still have a lot of work to do, so that we can play throughout all four quarters like the way we did in the second one. But the result is positive and I’m happy with all the players, who did their best to win.”