Pondexter Game-Winner Stuns Ros Casares


Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce underlined their championship credentials in the EuroLeague women by beating Spanish juggernauts Ros Casares in the opening game of the best-of-three quarter-final.

Ros, winners of the Copa de la Reina already and leaders in Spain's Liga Femenina, were among the clubs thought to have a chance of going all the way in Europe but they lost 69-67 in Turkey and must now win consecutive games to reach the Final Four.

Cappie Pondexter, one of the best players in the competition, hit arguably the biggest shot of her season when she buried a jumper with six seconds remaining for the winning margin.

Manolo Real's star-studded team were unable to launch a potential game-tying shot, or a three-pointer.

Fener's Canadian international Tammy Sutton-Brown had 17 points and seven boards, while Pondexter finished with 15 points, 10 assists and four steals.

Ros did not help their cause at the free throw line, making just seven of 13 (53.8%) of their shots.

They will be kicking themselves for allowing victory to escape them in Turkey.

With 3:50 to go in the first half, they led 36-23 after a lay-up from Elena Tornikidou.

Fener were able to cut the deficit to just eight at half-time, and then four at 41-37 as they went on an 8-0 run bridging the second and third quarters.

Ros appeared to weather that storm, with a pair of Delisha Milton lay ups
sandwiching a Tornikidou basket to stretch the advantage back to 47-37 three and a half minutes into the second half.

The visitors did not look convincing, however, as they took a 54-49 lead
into the fourth quarter.

That is when they watched their advantage evaporate.

Lay-ups by Germany international Linda Frohlich and Saziye Karsli trimmed the arrears to just one, and then Karsli was on target with a three-ball for a 56-54 Fener lead - their first since the opening minutes of the contest.

The Valencia team went back in front by as many as five points, but each team Fener battled back.

A lay-up by Spanish international Laia Palau would end up giving Ros their last lead of the game at 67-65 with 1:50 to go.

Frohlich's lay-up tied the showdown at 67-67 with 47 seconds remaining, and after veteran Tornikidou turned the ball over on a travelling call with 24 ticks left on the clock, Fener's Pondexter made them pay with her game-winning shot six seconds from the end.

Milton finished with a game-high 19 points in defeat for Ros Casares, who must win the second game at home on Friday to keep the series alive - and their Final Four hopes.

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