|Sparta&K point guard Epiphanny Prince scored a game-high 21 points |
Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje moved back into a second place in Group C of the EuroLeague Women with a huge win at Tarbes GB in France.
The Russian giants, amidst unconfirmed reports that Latvian sharpshooter Anete Jekabsone-Zogota has left the team to join Fenerbahce, prevailed 78-61 to improve to 6-3.
Victory over Halcon Avenida (7-2) next week in Salamanca would clinch first place for the Russian outfit.
Defeat for Tarbes has dropped Alain Jardel's side to 3-6 but they still have a chance of advancing to the play-offs since Galatasaray and VICI Aistes - the fourth and fifth-place teams directly above them - have the same record.
If Tarbes beat VICI Aistes next week in their last Qualifying Round game and Gala fall to Prague, the French outfit will progress.
Sparta&K are going to have to dig deep the rest of the season because their Australia superstar Lauren Jackson has been lost to injury for up to three months.
What they do have now is Sue Bird, with the USA international and four-time EuroLeague Women champion with Sparta&K having rejoined the side during the winter holidays.
Bird took a break after winning the FIBA World Championship for Women with the United States.
Pokey Chatman's Sparta&K squad also has Epiphanny Prince, who scored a game-high 21 points on Thursday night.
Sparta&K never trailed against Tarbes, with a Jelena Milovanovic lay-up snapping an early 4-4 tie and sparking a 6-0 run that put the visitors in front to stay.
By the end of the first quarter, Sparta&K had a 23-13 lead.
Late in the second quarter, the advantage ballooned to 40-21 on a lay-up by Ilona Korstin.
At the end of the frame, recent signing Brooke Smith poured in four straight points and then Naura El Gargati scored four more in a row to leave Tarbes down by 11 at the break.
But Prince scored five straight points at the start of the third quarter to put Sparta&K on the way to a resounding victory.