Diana Taurasi celebrated her return to EuroLeague Women action with 27 points as Spartak Moscow Region hammered Frisco Sika Brno 95-71 on Wednesday.
Taurasi, the MVP of last season's Final Four in Salamanca after leading Spartak to their third straight crown in the competition, followed that up with a terrific year in the WNBA where she not only earned the honor as the league MVP but also fired the Phoenix Mercury to their second crown in three years.
There are, quite simply, no other players as hot as Taurasi, at least not right now.
Spartak did have a battle on their hands in the first half on Wednesday when Eva Viteckova hit back-to-back shots and Linda Frohlich followed with a lay-up to cap the 6-0 run and trim the Spartak advantage to just one with 3:49 remaining.
Taurasi replied with a lay-up and a jump shot, taking her points haul to 11, for a 40-35 lead.
Taj McWilliams split a pair of free-throws to close the gap to four, only for Sylvia Fowles, Ilona Korstin and Taurasi to answer with baskets to take the advantage to 46-36.
Taurasi soon after gave Brno something to think about at half-time when she drilled a three-ball to give Spartak a 49-38 half-time lead.
Running off the court to the applause she has grown accustomed to, Taurasi had a game-high 16 points with 20 minutes still to be played.
Spartak were in command the rest of the way, with an 11-point deficit early in the fourth quarter the closest Frisco Sika Brno would get.
The hosts finished nine of 19 from long range, with Anete Jekabsone-Zogota drilling four of five on her way to 14 points.
Fowles had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Frohlich had 20 points to lead the way for Brno, who know that it can only get easier in the coming games.
The visitors were out-rebounded 37-26.
Pokey Chatman (Head Coach, Spartak Moscow Region):
"Its a nice start of the season, Brno is a very tough team and I am sure they are going to win a lot of games in the group round. We didn’t have a good game but we are still able to win. Now we have to keep up good work because we have a lot of good games ahead of us."
Diana Taurasi (Player, Spartak Moscow Region):
"It is good to be back in Vidnoje, our fans, the girls and the team in general. I will continue myhard work so that I help our team keep up winning."
Jan Bobrovsky (Head Coach, Frisco Sika Brno):
"Spartak played a great game and we are still trying to start playing together. Especially, since Bonner has joined us just a few days ago. We will for sure start playing better."