|No nerves: Sonja Petrovic was the clutch player for SpartaK in the hard fought win|
Serbia internationals Jelena Milovanovic and Sonja Petrovic picked the right time to have their best games of the season as Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje claimed a thrilling win over Beretta-Famila Schio.
On the opening day of the EuroLeague Women Eighth-Final play-offs, Milovanovic poured in a season-high 23 points and Petrovic had seven of her nine points in the last 7:53 of the contest to lift the four-time defending champions to a 65-60 triumph.
Schio, who got 18 points from Liron Cohen, 17 from Isabelle Yacoubou-Dehoui and 15 along with 14 rebounds from former Sparta&K power forward Janell McCarville, led by 11 midway through the third quarter and by seven with 10 minutes to go after two Laura Macchi free-throws.
The Italian club didn't press home the advantage, however, and when Milovanovic buried a three-pointer and then made a lay-up, the hosts had a 58-57 lead.
McCarville made just the second of two free-throws to tie it but Milovanovic went to the other end and sank two from the charity stripe before Petrovic buried a three-pointer for a 63-58 advantage.
Petrovic, whose young career has been marred by injuries, added a lay-up before two Cohen free-throws with 34 seconds left finished the scoring.
Schio had a chance to draw closer after a Milovanovic turnover but Macchi, held to just two points, missed a jumper.
Sparta&K's Sue Bird came up big with 10 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals.
Game 2 will be played on Friday in Italy.
Sparta&K Head Coach Pokey Chatman:
"Great second half defensive effort and some tough shots Milovanovic and Petrovic helped us win the pink sheet. You have to give credit to Schio and we know game 2 will be a battle. But our job is to win games and that is what we will try and do."
Sparta&K Forward Sonja Petrovic:
"We listened to our coaches instructions at half time and we executed what was asked from us and we won the game. If we listen to what is asked from us we should be able to reach our goals."
Schio Head Coach Sandro Orlando:
"It was my first time in Moscow and I surely hope it is not my last. We started well but as time went by we lost our confidence. This resulted in us loosing the game. We proved that we can play against Spartak on an equal level and I believe that we will play better."
Schio Forward Janel McCarville:
"We let this game slip away from us. I am sure we will come back to Moscow."