Bourges Basket thumped Gambrinus Sika Brno 72-57 in the opening game of their EuroLeague Women Eighth-Finals tie in France on Tuesday night.
Pierre Vincent's team, looking to avenge last year's overtime defeat to Gambrinus in the Final Four, got 19 points and 10 rebounds from rising star Endene Miyem while her fellow France international Emmeline Ndongue scored 17 and grabbed five boards.
Bourges fans will painfully remember the disappointment of 2008 when their team not only blew a 17-point first-half lead to Gambrinus before falling in overtime but also lost to Ekaterinburg at the buzzer in the consolation game.
Making it back to this year's showpiece event might heal those wounds.
The decisive stretch in Tuesday's game came in the first four minutes of the final quarter.
Brno's Tamika Whitmore hit two buckets in a row to trim the Bourges advantage to 53-50.
Veteran Cathy Melain replied with a jumper to restore the five-point lead for the home side, only for Hamchetou Maiga Ba's lay-up to again reduce the arrears to just three points for Brno.
A Miyem jump shot, however, sparked a 13-0 run for Bourges to put the result beyond doubt.
Miyem had seven points in that decisive spurt for Bourges.
Known for their tenacity on defense and rebounding, Bourges were better in both aspects.
They held Brno's Czech international Eva Viteckova to just three points on one of eight shooting from the floor.
Jan Bobrovsky's team managed to hit just 16 of 42 shots inside the arc compared to Bourges' 25 of 54.
Bourges also won the battle of the boards 41-36.
Maiga Ba had 13 points with Whitmore and Petra Kulichova each contributing 12 for Gambrinus.
Gambrinus will now host Bourges on Friday in the same gym where they stunned them in overtime in 2008.
Vlastimil HAVLIK, Brno Assistant:
"Bourges had a very agressive defense and it was really hard to shoot during the game. They took a lot of offensive rebonds so they had second or sometimes third chances to score. We don't have enough players with the injured girls so the end of the game was hard with tired players."
Pierre VINCENT, Bourge Head Coach:
"It was a big game. It's funny because we didn't use the tacticals plans we scheduled. It was with our classic game we won. We defended very hard and with the one month break all the girls were fresh. It's only the first step and we have one more game to win at Brno or at home".