Sony Athinaikos are in command of the EuroCup Women Finals after winning the opening leg at Nadezhda on Thursday.
In a battle of Greece versus Russia, Athinaikos got 18 points, seven rebounds and three steals from their Greek national team point guard Dimitra Kalentzou in a 65-57 victory.
|George Dikeoulakos' team goes back to Greece with the good feeling of a road win and a 8 point cushion before game two|
George Dikeoulakos' team will now return home and will next week try to finish off the Orenburg outfit.
Nadezhda coach Vladimir Koloskov expressed concerns ahead of the game about the Athinaikos rebounding and the player that proved nearly unstoppable in that regard for the Greeks was Irena Vizbariene.
The Lithuanian had a game-high 11 rebounds to go with her 14 points.
Another Greece international, Olga Chatzinikolaou, had seven boards to go with eight points and a game-high five steals for Athinaikos.
The American duo of Ruth Riley and Candice Wiggins were also influential.
The former had 11 points and seven rebounds while the latter contributed nine points and came up with two steals.
Monique Currie, who joined Nadezhda late in the season, hit a three-pointer with a minute to go in the first quarter to give her team an 18-14 advantage.
Polymnia Saregkou and Kalentzou each hit two free-throws to knot the contest at the end of the frame.
|Anastasiya Veremeenko played 40 minutes and cleaned the glass with 11 boards but saw her team go down against Athinaikos|
After another Currie three-ball knotted the game at 23-23 early in the second quarter, the 32-year-old Vizbariene buried back-to-back jumpers and Kalentzou followed with a three-pointer for a 30-23 advantage.
Athinaikos stayed on top the rest of the way although twice Nadezhda closed the gap to three points.
Olga Ovcharenko scored to make it 46-43 at the end of the third quarter and Anastasiya Veremeenko buried a jump shot early in the fourth to reduce the arrears to 48-45.
Athinaikos maintained their concentration and claimed an eight-point triumph.
Currie scored a game-high 21 points while Sheana Mosch poured in 12 and had a game-high seven turnovers.
Belarus international Veremeenko had eight points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
The free-throw line was a big part of this game.
Nadezhda was five of eight, while Athinaikos capitalized on many more trips, drilling 18 of 23.
Sony Athinaikos head coach George Dikeoulakos:
"I congratulate my team with a victory. All players played for 100% in particular. I would like to note Candice Wiggins. The game was very tough. Our team played very well in defense. We hold only the first half of the game. The second half will be on the 8th of April in Athens. I'm satisfied with todays game and the results in general".
Nadezhda head coach Yuriy Karandashov:
"We expected to show more quality basketball and please Orenburg's fans. Because of key players' traumas our reserve was smaller than one of "Athinaikos". The Greek team was stronger on defense, and as result we could hit only 57 points. The next game in Greece we need to catch courage and concentrate for 100%, to reach a positive result."