Ros Casares won a heavyweight fight with UMMC Ekaterinburg on Wednesday night in EuroLeague Women Group A to send out a loud message about their title aspirations.
The Spanish powerhouse score the first 12 points of the contest and led the entire way at La Fonteta before winning 87-68 with Delisha Milton-Jones and Laia Palau scoring 19 points apiece.
In a dominating display, Isma Canto's Ros Casares took advantage of a UMMC team without injured point guard Celine Dumerc.
They forced Gundars Vetra's team to turn the ball over 20 times with seven of those miscues charged to USA international playmaker Cappie Pondexter.
Erika De Souza, who had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Ros, led the team with four steals while Palau, Jana Vesela and Belinda Snell came up with three each.
UMMC had just four steals.
After their blistering start, Ros extended the lead to 20-6 before taking a 24-12 advantage by the end of the opening quarter.
UMMC finally got into their rhythm and fought back, trailing just 40-35 at half-time.
Milton, De Souza and Vesela set the tone for the second half with the first three baskets of the third quarter for a 46-35 Ros Casares advantage.
An Ann Wauters three-pointer cut the home side's lead to 57-52 but Becky Hammon, Wauters' former teammate at CSKA Moscow, finished the frame with a lay-up to take the lead back to 59-52.
UMMC cut the deficit to 59-55 early in the fourth quarter on a Pondexter three-pointer and a Wauters jump shot made it 67-64 with 6:14 to go.
Ros Casares outscored UMMC 20-4 the rest of the way.
Milton made a pair of free-throws and then added a jump shot to increase the advantage to 71-64 and put Ros Casares on their way to a decisive triumph.
Hammon ended up playing 14 minutes and scored eight points.
ISMA CANTÓ (CIUDAD ROS CASARES COACH):
"Today it was an special game. First of all because we beat Ekaterinburg and after because we played a good last quarter. It's the best game since I'm like a coach in this club."
LAIA PALAU (CIUDAD ROS CASARES)
"Every year we have superior level and right now we are ready to compete with the bests teams in the Euroleague."
CAPPIE PONDEXTER (UMMC EKATERIBURG)
"Today we didn't play at our level in Valencia."