|Sparta&K's Candice Dupree added eight rebounds to her game-high 26 points|
Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje jumped out onto EuroLeague Women debutantes Tarsus with a scorching first half display to lay the foundation for an 88-81 opening night win in Group A.
The Turkish visitors left their defence in the locker room during the opening twenty minutes and Sparta&K duly punished them with a devastating opening half performance which gave the newcomers a mountain to climb.
The hosts raced into a commanding 23-8 advantage to capitalise on the slow start and worse was to follow for Tarsus when midway through the second quarter, Evegeniya Belyakova converted a trademark triple to stretch the gap to 45-24.
The interval did at least offer some respite for Tarsus, although 53-32 behind, they looked resigned to a nightmare opening evening.
But to their immense credit, they recovered with a much improved second-half renaissance and led by Danielle Robinson who ended up with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists, they added some respectability to the final score-line.
Whilst they managed to cut the deficit to single digits, Tarsus never seriously threatened the superiority of the home team who were probably guilty of taking their foot off the gas.
Candice Dupree certainly enjoyed her night for Sparta&K with a game high 26 points whilst fellow forward Sonja Petrovic claimed a double-double after scoring 10 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
Tarsus head coach Erdal Yegin:
"This is our first EuroLeague Women game and we were destined to play it against one of the top European teams, a recent four-time champion. During the first half we did not play good defense and execute well in offense but in the second half we made some adjustments and did much better. An aggressive defense brought us closer but we were not able to win."
Tarsus player Amaya Valdemoro:
"It was an important day in the history of Tarsus and playing against Sparta&K did not make it easy. In the first half we did not play well, probably affected by our EuroLeague Women inexperience. But at halftime we calmed down and came out determined to play more focused and aggressive as we did. We congratulate Sparta&K but let our opponents know that we will be tough in all games."
Sparta&K head coach Pokey Chatman:
"I am happy with the result, after all a win is a win but we realize we have a lot to work on. In the first half we played well but in the second half our defense lacked the intensity needed to win EuroLeague Women games. We need to be more focused and consistent on defense. There are various aspects of today's game we need to improve and rest assured we will start working on these from tomorrow's afternoon practice. Congratulations to Tarsus on their overall performance in their first EuroLeague Women game."
Sparta&K player Sonja Petrovic:
"To win in the EuroLeague Women is something we all fight for. That is why I am happy with the win but to tell the truth I am not happy with our second half defense. We have to remain focused throughout the game and we must work hard at all times. We need to be more aggressive on the boards and we must realize that if we play our style of basketball we can go a long way. But it's still early in the season and I am sure we will improve. Finally I do feel the need to congratulate Tarsus and I am sure they will cause many problems to many teams."