Lucia Kupcikova was a big reason why Slovakia had a good EuroBasket Women last year in Latvia.
On Tuesday night in Schio, she reminded everyone of that fact with a terrific performance to lead Good Angels Kosice to 70-67 win over Beretta-Famila.
|Lucia Kupcikova stepped out of the shadow to lift her team over Schio|
Kupcikova had 12 points by half-time, including a tip-in that left them ahead, 48-36 at the break.
With Schio fighting back and trailing just 56-51 at the start of fourth, Kupcikova hit a three-pointer.
It took a team effort for Kosice to claim this valuable road win, though.
After the sensational Laura Macchi scored on a drive for Beretta-Famila to reduce the deficit to 59-55, Luisa Michulková replied with a basket for Kosice.
Schio kept the pressure on and twice reduced the arrears to two points, at 61-59 and 63-61, following baskets by Elisabetta Moro and Mudju Ngoyisa.
Each time, Miljana Musovic responded.
She first made a lay-up and then, following Ngoyisa's shot, drilled a three-pointer for a 66-61 advantage.
The home side continued to battle and when Raffaella Masciadri hit a shot from the arc with 15 seconds left, her team trailed 69-67.
Schio fouled Kosice's Angel McCoughtry and she sank just one of two free-throws to leave the door open for the hosts but Masciadri missed a potential game-tying three-ball.
Macchi finished with 24 points while Kupcikova scored a team-high 17 points and added nine rebounds in defeat.
Sandro Orlando, Beretta Famila Schio coach:
"Unfortunately tonight we allowed too much offensive rebounds and did too many turnovers. Despite this we arrived to last possession with the ball to go to overtime. Now we know that go to quarter final will be very hard, but friday in Kosice we'll obviously try to win the game and come back to Schio for a decisive match".
Stefan Svitek, Good Angels Kosice coach:
"We built our victory in the first half scoring a lot of points. We took a lead that we managed until the end of the game. We played versus a great team that is doing a great european season. Now we have the great opportunity to close the series on our court. I hope to come back to Schio....next season"