|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.
"We really played good basketball and defended well, especially when it came to the one on one defense, the last 12-15 minutes. It is our mistake that we allowed Sparta&K to take a big lead and we paid for that. Even though we could stolen the game at the end. Now we are looking to a difficult game for the Spanish league."
Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje Head Coach Pokey Chatman
"It is always frustrating as a coach to give up an eighteen point lead especially against a good team like Rivas but it is always important that we, especially our key players, showed character and made some important shots and free throws at the end of the game. We have to continue playing our game and concentrating irregardless of the score."
Rivas Ecopolis player Jelena Dubljevic
"We played a good game only in the second half but because we allowed Sparta&k to take a big lead we lost the game. We had a shot to send the game to overtime but we just where not lucky. We are now going back home with tow road losses but I am sure things we become better soon."
Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje Sonja Petrovic
"We played well in the first half but were bad in the second half and allowed Rivas to come back. You just can not do that against good teams. We have to learn to allow this to happen again. Thankfully we showed character in the last minute and made the shots we had to make."