Gruda, UMMC Down Pesky Prague

7. Sandrine Gruda (UMMC Ekaterinburg)
Sandrine Gruda tore apart the Prague defence scoring 30 points and pulling down 7 rebounds

UMMC Ekaterinburg saw off the challenge of ZVVZ USK Prague and clinched their third consecutive victory in the EuroLeague Women.

France international Sandrine Gruda scored a career-high 30 points as UMMC won, 87-69.

Algirdis Paulauskas' outfit improved to 9-3 and stayed in the running for a first-place finish in Group A.

Ros Casares and Galatasaray are both 9-2 and in action later this week.

Prague, who fell for the third time in the last four games and dropped to 6-6, are fifth in Group A.

The Czech club has been battling hard just to secure a spot in Round 2, with the top four sides in each of the three groups and the two best fifth-place sides progressing.

UMMC, have already secured their place in the next stage of the competition, trailed 10-8 following a tip-in by Prague's Delisha Milton-Jones.

Candace Parker knotted the contest at 10-10 before Anete Jekabsone and Gruda followed with jump shots for a 14-10 UMMC advantage.

Olga Arteshina then struck with a jumper for her first two points of the game before Gruda buried back-to-back jump shots for a 20-10 lead.

After Deanna Nola's tip-in on a fast break made it 22-10 in favor of UMMC at the end of the first quarter, Gruda capped the run with a jumper at the start of the second for a 24-10 advantage.

The French star, who was named FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year in 2009, went on to pour in 18 first-half points to help UMMC go on top by 23.

Prague then mounted a charge at the end of the first half that kept them in the game, scoring the last nine points to reduce the arrears to 49-35 at the break.

Lubor Blazek's team showed further signs of life in the third quarter and closed the gap to 58-52.

Eva Viteckova made a jumper and drew a foul.

She sank the free-throw for the three-point play.

Sandra Linkeviciene, playing in her third game for UMMC since joining from VICI Aistes, scored with a tip-in and Gruda followed again to take the lead back to 10.

Prague refused to go away and pulled to within nine midway through the last quarter but got no closer.

The visitors were led by Milton-Jones' 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

The American center did turn the ball over a game-high six times.

Sue Bird, who joined UMMC from Sparta&K Moscow Region, played in her second EuroLeague Women game for Paulauskas and was zero for three from the field with four turnovers.



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