|Sue Bird had an imposing welcome to EuroLeague Women with impressive stats across the board|
Sue Bird pulled a UMMC Ekaterinburg vest on for the first time this season in EuroLeague Women and made an instant impact in a 79-58 Group C success against USO Mondeville.
The playmaker may have only managed three points, but dazzled with ten assists, eight rebounds and three steals to give a further boost to both the Final Eight hosts and current favourites to take the title in March.
However, Bird wasn't the only player to excel against the French visitors since Polish forward Ewelina Kobryn posted her best performance for Ekat, hitting eight-of-nine from the floor to help her accumulate 19 points.
This tenth straight win of the season, which maintained the unbeaten status of the Russian heavyweights, was relatively well earned against a hard-working and determined Mondeville unit.
Whilst they fell 24-13 behind after the opening quarter, they refused to capitulate and outscored Ekat 17-16 during the second period.
But, this was always going to be a home win taking into account the mismatch in resources between the clubs and the only question was by how many it would be - and especially after Deanna Nolan converted from behind the three-point line to put Ekat 56-38 ahead.
Mondeville continued to battle valiantly, but couldn't find any kind of shooting form against the strong Ekat defence and it resigned them to a third straight loss.
Only Noel Kuin and Amanda Lassiter scraped into double digits with 14 and 12 points respectively.
USO Mondeville head coach Herve Coudray
"My congratulations to UMMC. Tonight they proved once again to be the favourites to win the tournament. Our goal for now was to qualify for the second stage and tonight was one of the most important games. Next week we have another hard game to play."
USO Mondeville player Noel Kuin
"UMMC is a tough team with a lot of weapons. Still I am proud of our team; we focused on defence and did quite well. Ekaterinburg is a team that perfectly works together and if you make one step, they will make ten. Hope we were able to learn something new tonight."
UMMC Head Coach Olaf Lange
"I am happy with the result, especially taking into account that tonight we played without Parker and instead with Bird. Gruda, Kobryn and Stepanova finished in double figures and overall we were dominating on the floor. It was a fast-paced meeting with a lot of transition and I enjoyed the quality of the team's interaction and hope that we established the game we were looking for."
UMMC player Ewelina Kobryn
"Congratulations to the team. We showed that we can dominate under the basket and three of our players scored a lot of points. Hope we will able to keep this team spirit and continue to win."