CSKA Moscow beat Halcon Avenida 83-64 to remain undefeated in all competitions, but the Spanish team can return home for Game Two later this week with their heads held high after a brave performance in Russia.
Ann Wauters led five CSKA players in double figures with 21 points, while Isa Sanchez paced the Salamanca
|Silvia Dominguez had 10 points for Halcon Avenida in the loss.|
CSKA looked as if they were going to run the visitors out of the gym when they opened up a 21-7 lead with 2:27 remaining in the first quarter.
Wauters had six of her points in that strong CSKA start.
Before Gundars Vetra's team knew it, though, Avenida had stormed right back to trail 24-22, with emerging Spanish star Silvia Dominguez's three-point play capping a 15-2 run.
Jose Herndandez's team then pulled level at 30-30 on a Tracy Reid jump shot which gave her eight points.
Nicole Powell, who played for Salamanca last year, replied with a jump shot and then a three-point play, and the excellent French playmaker Edwige Lawson-Wade buried a three-pointer before Wauters added a jumper for a 10-0 run that put CSKA in control for good.
Avenida battled and managed to remain within eight points, but late in the third quarter a Rebecca Hammon three-ball put CSKA on top at 63-50 and they eventually pulled away for a 19-point triumph.
Amaya Valdemoro, CSKA's EuroBasket Women MVP, had been expected to play for the first time in the EuroLeague Women since December 19. She had recovered from a calf injury and played for CSKA at the weekend, but did not make an appearance for them on Tuesday.
Gundars Vetra, CSKA Head Coach:
"I'm satisfied with the result but not the game. We have to strengthen our defense. Tonight we let Avenida tie the score, but we made a very important run at the end of the second quarter and were ahead. Till the end of the game we were keeping the difference not less than 10 points and it was very important for our victory. It'll be very tough to play in Salamanca, in the small gym full of Spanish fans."
Jose Ignacio Hernandez, Avenida Head Coach:
I'm happy with how we played today and fought with the strongest team in Europe and even in the world. We tied the score in the game against CSKA and played very good with very good rhythm during very long time. I think that in Spain will be quite different game , we'll try to make all our best and our fans will help us"
Isabel Sanchez, Avenida:
We make today a good job, I'm satisfied with the game and I think that we lost the rhythm and it didn't let us to return to the game after the big brake."