|Second EuroLeague Women game this season and a second consecutive double-double for Erika De Souza|
Erika de Souza dominated for Perfumerias Avenida on Wednesday as the Spanish club won at Nadezhda to remain unbeaten in its EuroLeague Women title defense.
The Brazilian center, in her second European game with the Salamanca outfit this season, poured in 20 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds in a 69-64 victory.
The win in Orenburg may be Avenida's most impressive so far because the star-studded Russian team had won two straight in EuroLeague Group B.
Lucas Mondelo, the Avenida coach, didn't want one of Nadezhda's best players, EuroBasket Women 2011 MVP Elena Danilochkina of Russia, to have any space to shoot.
She attempted just three shots from the field and failed to score in 30 minutes of action.
Instead, Nadezhda relied heavily on Rebbekah Brunson and Anastasiya Verameyenka.
Brunson, a former Ros Casares forward, had a game-high 25 points to go with her eight rebounds while Verameyenka finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and four steals.
Nadezhda had held their nerve late in their previous two games against Sopron and Tarbes and they never let Avenida feel comfortable, even in the final minutes.
The Spaniards went on top at 58-47 with 7:16 to go after an Isa Sanchez three-pointer capped a 7-0 run.
With 3:17 to play, the lead was still 64-53 after a Dewanna Bonner jumper.
Bonner had 10 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter.
But another ex-Ros Casares player from last season, Katie Douglas, answered with a three-ball and followed with two free-throws.
Brunson then nailed a jumper to close the gap to 64-60 with 1:40 to go.
When Brunson hit another jump shot with 35 seconds to play, Nadezhda only trailed 66-64.
Mondelo called a timeout.
As the game restarted, Nadezhda fouled point guard Laura Antoja and she made the first free-throw but missed the second.
De Souza was there for the rebound, however, and scored on the put-back for the final points of the game.
Five of De Souza's boards came on the offensive glass.
While Avenida won for the fifth time in a row, Nadezhda slumped to 2-2.
Avenida Head Coach Lucas Mondelo
"This was a very tough game. Nadezhda is a strong opponent and one of the best team in Europe. I guess they will be among the 9-10 best teams, maybe playing in the Final Eight. This win tonight was very important. We came with full respect to the opponent's team and coach and we won. We made it because of several factors, like managing to stop their top scorers and offensive rebounding. And what is most important we took advantages in the end of the game when our opponent had chances to beat us."
Nadezhda Head Coach Alexander Kovalev
"We were playing against the EuroLeague Women champion and the composition of the team is 60-70% the same as it was last year. We studied the team well and as a result we managed to stop some key players like Isabel Sanchez and Marta Fernandez. Until the last second of the game we had a chance to beat the opponent or lead the game to overtime but unfortunately we missed these chances."
Avenida player Alisson Feaster Strong
"I think the second half of the game was key for us when we managed to stop key players of the opponents. Of course the final seconds of the game were very tough but I'm happy we got this win and took the best out of the last minutes on the court. I would like to point out the pefrect atmosphere of the game because it's always a pleasure to play with so many spectators. The fans were perfect."
Nadezhda player Rebekkah Brunson
"Today we were a bit unlucky at the end of the game, we missed those opportunities we had. We started the game very well and even in the last seconds we got chances to break the game and win or go to overtime. Our opponents used their advantages where we failed but we have a great team and I'm sure we will win the next games."