UMMC Ekaterinburg didn’t make many free throws on the night but they sank just enough at the right time to edge Bourges in a hard-fought game in France.
The Russian team had to overcome a five-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter and then benefited from France point guard Celine Dumerc misfiring with the first of two attempts at the stripe with eight seconds left as Bourges slipped to a 57-56 defeat at home in the EuroLeague Women.
Ekaterinburg boss Laurent Buffard, who is now in Russia after spending most of his recent career in France with US Valenciennes, will want to have a free-throw shooting practice at the nearest opportunity because his players managed to make just 11 of 20 (55%) on the night.
Australia internationals Penny Taylor and Kristi Harrower each converted two attempts from the line in the final 1:10, though, as unbeaten Ekaterinburg took a 57-55 lead.
Dumerc attempted a three-pointer with 24 seconds to go and missed, but Bourges' resident Opal Belinda Snell, a teammate of Taylor's and Harrower's on the gold-medal winning Australia side at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Brazil, grabbed the rebound.
|Kristi Lee Harrower scored crucial points in the Ekaterinburg win on the road|
With a chance to seal the win just 13 seconds from the end, however, Taylor missed two attempts at the charity stripe and left the door open for Bourges.
Deanna Nolan was called for a foul on Dumerc but she only made the second as Buffard's team held on.
French center Sandrine Gruda had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Nolan weighed in with 13 as well to lead Ekaterinburg, while no player reached double figures in points for Bourges who were led by Snell's nine.
Three other Bourges players did score eight points.
France center Emmeline Ndongue had four points to go with her game-high 13 rebounds for Bourges.
The hosts were just 17 of 25 (68%) at the line on the night.
Pierre Vincent, coach Bourges Basket:
We lost this game because of a detail. We were not helped in the last minutes. During this game, either we were too whistled or, for a big part of the game, they forget to whistle, and it was difficult to play basketball.
I am disappointed, we should have won this game.
Lauent Buffard, coach UMMC Ekaterinburg:
Bourges is a very big team with excellent players. I don't triumph after this game. We have always been in danger. The most important for us is to build our team. We will succeed little by little.