|Svetlana Abrosimova had 9 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for UMMC Ekaterinburg|
UMMC Ekaterinburg twice defeated Rivas Ecopolis during the Qualifying Round of the EuroLeague Women and on Tuesday in Russia, Gundars Vetra's team did it again with a 63-58 triumph in the Eighth-Final play-offs.
In a battle between the Russian Cup winners and Copa de la Reina victors, UMMC prevailed but only after turning back a brilliant comeback attempt by Rivas.
The visitors from Spain took a 50-47 lead early in the fourth quarter on a Courtney Paris jump shot but a Maria Stepanova jumper sparked a 10-0 UMMC run.
France international Sandrine Gruda had six of her game-high 21 points in that surge with Stepanova accounting for the other four.
Copa de la Reina MVP DeWanna Bonner later reeled of five straight points to reduce the Rivas deficit to 60-58 and Rivas had four opportunities to either pull level or go in front but missed shots each time.
A Stepanova three-point play with 1:10 remaining accounted for the game's last points.
Gruda was eight of 10 from the floor and five of six from the line and also came up with a team-high eight rebounds.
Svetlana Abrosimova gave UMMC much needed energy and finished with nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Bonner ended up with 19 points and nine boards in defeat.
Rivas missed all eight of their shots from long range, while UMMC were just one of 12.
On her EuroLeague Women debut with UMMC, recent signing Zuzana Zirkova had two points, one assist, one rebound and two turnovers in almost 16 minutes.
Zirkova played with Good Angels Kosice at the beginning of the year but was signed by UMMC as a replacement for Agnieszka Bibrzycka, who parted with the club last week.
Game Two will be on Friday in Spain.
UMMC Center Maria Stepanova:
"It was a good game, but in the first ten we made some mistakes, were tired after the Cup of Russia, and hurried. The Spanish team played very good and fast basketball. Till Friday we have time for preparations, we'll analyze our mistakes and improve our game."
UMMC Head Coach Gundars Vetra:
"I agree with Maria - the opponent is very strong, they played clever tactically, played personal and zone defense, varied speed, so it was hard to oppose them. We made some wrong decisions in the first quarter. I'm glad we've won, but the next game will be very serious, so we need to prepare."
Rivas Ecopolis forward DeWanna Bonner:
"We played a good game, played close to the host team, but in the end we were not lucky."
Rivas Ecopolis Head Coach Javier Fort:
"Congratulations to the UMMC on their win, our team played well, but in the end they made some important shots. We are ready to struggle in the next game, and hope to come back to Ekaterinburg in a week. We'll try to dictate pace, control turnovers and improve our play. Though it is difficult, we always play to win."