It was an all-Russian affair in the second semi-final of the FIBA Europe Cup Women Final Four in Istanbul, Turkey. Baltiskaya entered the contest as the stronger team according to the Russian league standings, and they emerged as the strongest team on the day, in what was the 5th match-up between these 2 teams this season.
|Kiesha Brown (Dynamo Moscow)|
Baltiskaya took advantage of Snow’s absence in the first half as Demya Walker (9 points and 9 rebounds) and Elena Shakirova (9 points) had their way under the basket. Not only were they in control inside, but Kristen Sharp was keeping the Dyanmo defense honest as she hit 3/4 three-pointers.
The team from St. Petersburg took a narrow lead (23:20) into the second period, after which they went on a 9:0 run to establish a 39:30 advantage. They maintained the lead for the rest of the quarter and took a 43:35 lead into the halftime break.
Both teams struggled in the third and it took 3 minutes and 40 seconds before Dynamo’s Natasa Andjelic could open the scoring. Her jump shot sparked the Moscow based side and a basket from Natalia Zasulskaya capped a 10:2 run which saw Dynamo take the lead for the first time in the game (45:47).
Baltiskaya soon recovered from this setback, and another 3-pointer from Sharp with 11 seconds left in the period, gave them a 50:47 lead at the end of the quarter.
|Baltiyskaya Zwezda players celebrating|
It seemed that the comeback had exhausted Dynamo’s players and in what proved to be the key to the game, they were held scoreless in the opening 6 minutes of the 4th period.
Baltiskaya took advantage of Dynamo’s struggles, outscoring their opponents 10:0 and taking an iron-clad grip on the game. Dynamo had left any hopes of winning too late and Baltiskaya were able to cruise home, maintaining their 10-point lead.
Sharp finished the game with 18 points on 5/8 three-point shooting while Walker added 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Andjelic was Dynamo’s top scorer with 15 points while Brown was the only other player to crack double figures with 13. Michaelea Pavlickova, Dynamo’s 3rd leading scorer this season (14.4 ppg) was held to 6 points on 3/11 shooting from the field.
Fabio Fossati, Head Coach, Dynamo Moscow:
“Baltiskaya were the better team today. They will play for first place in the Russian Championship while we play for eighth.
“This has been a tough season for us and just to be here is a great result. We tried to do everything to win but Baltiskaya is a good team which works well together, plus we had problems with the injury to Donnette Snow.
“I don’t know why we struggled to score in the 4th quarter, but it was definitely the key to the game. We did a great job to get back in the game and if we could have only scored 2 baskets...
“I’m disappointed for the girls but they gave their best.”
Kira Trzheskal, Head Coach, Baltiskaya Zwezda:
“This was a difficult game between 2 teams that know each other very well. Today was the 5th time that we have played each other this season.
“We wanted to win and I think we were the better team. We played zone and defensively and physically we were strong.”
Natalia Perevoznikova, Dynamo Moscow:
“This was a difficult game for us. We missed a lot of shots which is unusual for us but we played good defense.