After a miserable start to the EuroLeague Women campaign, Italian side Lavezzini Parma finished the regular season in style, defeating French visitors Tarbes, 86-78.
Parma lost 6 of their first 7 games in the competition and in December looked like an unlikely bet to make the play-offs. But the 2004 Italian finalists rallied in 2005, winning 4 of their 5 games, including Thursday night's victory which guarantees them a place in the eighth-final play-offs.
Despite a close first half, Parma were the better team throughout and thoroughly deserved their victory. Tarbes managed to hang on in the first 20 minutes, but the Italians' held 4-point halftime lead (44-40), after which they never looked back.
Greek international Anastasia Kostaki had an outstanding game for Parma and came close to a triple-double (21 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists) while Eva Nemcova added 17 points.
Katryna Gaither had a game-high 22 points for Tarbes and guard Laure Savasta had 14 points including 4/7 3-pointers.
Miodrag Veskovic, Head Coach Basket Parma:
"We won 4 games in the second part of the season and qualified for the play-offs. We had again problems in defence, but tonight I want to think only about the positive things.
After loosing 6 of our first 7 games it was basically impossible for us to pass the round, but now we realized a very big thing by qualifying for the play-offs."