Sparta&K Survive Late Comeback By Rivas


12. Irina Osipova (Sparta&K Moscow Region)
Russia international Irina Osipova had 15 points, four rebounds and three assists for winners Sparta&K M. R. Vidnoje

Sparta&K Moscow Region almost blew an 18-point lead but held on for a 79-76 victory over Rivas Ecopolis in the EuroLeague Women.

Pokey Chatman's team improved to 7-3 to keep the heat on Group C leaders Wisla Can-Pack Krakow (7-2), who play at Lattes Montpellier later on Wednesday.

Victory seemed to be a foregone conclusion 4:35 into the third quarter when Sparta&K scored seven straight points to open up a 55-37 advantage.

Candice Dupree had two free-throws and Becky Hammon and Seimone Augustus hit jumpers in that spurt.

Rivas, who were trying to snap a two-game losing streak, managed to reduce the arrears to 58-47 with a three-ball by Elisa Aguilar and pulled to within seven as Asjha Jones buried a jumper.

With 4:22 remaining, however, Sparta&K still were on top 74-63 after two Sonja Petrovic free-throws.

Rivas then shifted into a higher gear.

Anna Cruz made a lay-up, Essence Carson a free-throw and Jones added a basket to cut the deficit to six.

Cruz followed with two more from the charity stripe to make it a 74-70 game.

After Seimone Augustus and Jones each made two free-throws, Aguilar drew a foul and went to the line where she converted two attempts to cut the Sparta&K advantage to 76-74.

Augustus hit a jumper but Cruz made two more from the line to leave Rivas behind by just two.

It was as close as they would get.

Irina Osipova's one-of-two effort from the line pushed the lead to three, and Rivas got the ball back with a chance to level the scores, only for Jelena Dubljevic's attempt from long range to be off target.

Hammon rebounded the miss and Sparta&K held on.

Augustus finished with 18 points and both Osipova and Dupree had 15 for Sparta&K.

Rivas got 20 points and nine rebounds from Jones.



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