|Tina Charles produced another MVP-worthy performance as Wisla Can-Pack dug out a three-point win|
Tina Charles came up trumps in crunch time with three points in the last four seconds to inspire Wisla Can-Pack to a dramatic 57-54 EuroLeague Women play-off win at Bourges Basket.
In an incredibly nervy and intense struggle, Charles made the game-winning basket with a jump-shot with just four seconds remaining, to drive a dagger through Bourges hearts, before capping the victory with a free-throw.
Charles finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, although much of the best work, especially down the stretch, came from Polish playmaker Paulina Pawlak.
Without the injured Cristina Ouvina to share the point guard spot, Pawlak had to work hard to contain FIBA Europe Player of the Year Celine Dumerc.
Offensively, she made two big plays in the closing minutes to keep Wisla in front, whilst her compatriot Justyna Zurowska scored with a one-handed hook shot with just over a minute remaining, to make it a two-shot game for the first time since early in the final quarter.
That proved decisive as Wisla needed their four-point cushion as Bourges tied the game up via Dumerc with four seconds remaining.
However, from the inbound pass by Pawlak, it was Charles who became the hero for Wisla by making the big shot.
Bourges had led early, 20-8, but once Wisla worked to establish a foothold in the game, it always looked like a contest which would go down to the wire.
Pawlak had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists whilst Emmeline Ndongue had 11 points and 14 rebounds for Bourges.
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Wisla head coach Jose Hernandez:
"In the beginning we had problems on defense but we became more aggressive during the last three quarters. We wanted to play like Bourges with great defense. We will see in Krakow on Friday; Bourges is always hard to play."
Wisla player Paulina Pawlak:
"I'm so happy to win. Bourges are really a good team with hard defense but we found a way to play against them. Even if our first quarter was really bad, we knew we had to continue to play that way to win."
Bourges head coach Valerie Garnier:
"Tonight the big surprise was Paulina Pawlak, she played 40 minutes and was on fire. That's why I don't like to play against teams with injured players; small benches make players play their best game. Tonight our attack was a big problem; we really have to solve this problem."
Bourges player Emmeline Ndongue:
"They scored only 57 points. It was a tough game, we had to be focused every second and we paid that at the end. My duel with Tina Charles is nothing compared to the loss of the game. We have to find solutions and stop thinking too much. We have to give everything on Friday night."