In a battle of the two top sides in Group C of the EuroLeague Women, Russian outfit VBM-SGAU Samara preserved their unbeaten record in the competition with an overtime victory over Lotos Gdynia.
Gdynia, EuroLeague Women runners-up in 2004, provided Samara with their sternest test of the season so far. Led by 213 cm center Margo Dydek, Samara's inside combination of Maria Stepanova and Ann Wauters (who is playing just her second game of the season after coming back from injury) had their work cut out.
But it was Samara's veteran forward Sheryl Swoopes who made the difference for the home side. Swoopes, who is one of the most experienced players in women's basketball, scored a season high 15 points and proved to be the difference in overtime.
Gdynia have not been as strong on the road this season as in Poland, but nonetheless opened the game as the better team.
There was nothing between the two teams for most of the game, and although Samara held a 6-point advantage in the fourth quarter, Gdynia guard Deanna Nolan sparked a run from the visitors and after 40 minutes the contest was tied 54-54.
The effects of the long journey to Samara told for Gdynia in the extra period and they visibly tired. Led by Swoopes, Samara seized control and preserved their status as the only team in the competition with a 100% record.
As well as Swoopes' 15 points, Stepanova had 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Margo Dydek top scored for Gdynia with 16 points. She also grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked 2 shots.