Sparked by runs to open the first and fourth quarters, Gambrinus Brno defeated USVO 61-54 to advance to the EuroLeague Women championship game for the second consecutive year.
USVO was held to five points in the first quarter and nine points in the fourth as the young and inexperienced French club came up short in their comeback bid.
Leading 49-45 to open the fourth quarter, Gambrinus went on an 8-2 run. DeLisha Milton´s jump shot with 4:21 to go in the game gave Gambrinus a 57-47 lead to seal the victory.
|Gambrinus´ defensive effort and the all-around play of Delisha Milton led Brno to victory|
"This is a great win for this team and this city and I am grateful that the whole city came out here and supported us," said Milton.
"I am thrilled to be going on to the final," added teammate Eva Viteckova.
"We will be playing for everyone in Brno and the Czech Republic."
USVO scored just one field goal over the first 6:02 of the quarter.
It was the second long offensive drought for USVO.
Gambrinus started the game on a 10-0 run and appeared to be cruising to a certain win.
Supported by a boisterous home crowd, Gambrinus played suffocating defense and held the French squad to five points after one quarter of play.
The young USVO squad opened tenatively, missing on their first nine field goal attempts, committing two turnovers and were held scoreless for the first 4:52 of the game.
Milton´s three-pointer in the opening moments of the second quarter extended Gambrinus´lead to 16 at 21-5
Milton led Gambrinus´offensive attack with 20 points. She also collected a team-high 10 rebounds and picked up three steals.
"My teammates did a great job of giving me scoring opportunities and setting me up," Milton said.
Trailing 36-26 at halftime and by as many as 16 in the first half, USVO battled back and opened the third quarter on a 14-2 run.
Sandra Le Drean scored her first points of the game with 5:18 to go in the third quarter to tie the game at 38 and Sandrine Gruda´s jumper from the corner gave USVO their first lead of the game.
But USVO couldn´t maintain the lead after the effort it took to get back in the game and came up with another difficult offensive quarter in the fourth.
"I am sure we were tired," said Le Drean. "We extended maximum effort to get back in the game and in the end we didn´t have enough left to win."
Le Drean, USVO leading scorer entering play, was held to just two points on one of eight shooting from the field.
"They are a very strong and physical team," Le Drean said.
"What makes our team difficult is from positions two, three, four and five, we are all very tall and have long arms and I think that bothered her tonight," Milton said.
USVO was paced by point guard Kristi Harrower with 20 points. Sandrine Gruda chipped in with 14.