|Diana Taurasi had a another typically sound offensive performance, scoring 19 points|
Diana Taurasi and Candace Parker have combined to produce another EuroLeague Women headline-grabbing performance to avoid the unthinkable for UMMC Ekaterinburg: a third loss in four games.
In the final game of the Regular Season for both teams, the backcourt specialist Taurasi had five assists and matched Parker with 19 points to take their team to a 74-61 victory over Famila Schio.
Despite little riding on the game with Ekat granted a direct ticket to the Final Eight on account of playing hosts to the tournament, the victory can be considered a morale-boosting one for Olaf Lange's squad, who have been far from their champagne-best post-Christmas.
After running out to a commanding 26-11 lead by the end of the opening frame thanks to 12 first-quarter points from center Parker, the break in play failed to stall their momentum as Taurasi and Sandrine Gruda both joined Parker in double figures by the half to have the ladies in orange leading 49-24 at the major break.
French international Gruda completed the evening with 15 points and six rebounds.
However, complacency began to creep into the home side's game following the break and Giorgia Sottana picked up the scent, taking charge of Schio's offence to propel her team back into the game and have the gap back to a more manageable 14 with a quarter to play.
The lightening-quick Italian playmaker ended the game with 19 points.
But sensing the danger, Lange's commands went into lockdown mode for the final 10 minutes, restricting Schio to just 13 points, whilst only contributing 12 of their own to the scorecard, signaling a routine end to what had been a comparatively high-octane previous 30 minutes.
Beretta Famila Player Giorgia Sottana
"We made our biggest mistake in the first half of the game. We played soft and it never works against such a strong team like UMMC. In the second half we played stronger on offence and did well. No matter what, we must stay positive."
Beretta Famila Head Coach Miguel Martinez Mendez
"Congratulations to the local team for the good game. They played really well especially in the first two periods. On the other hand we were able to show a EuroLeague Women-level game in the second half and that is very important for us."
UMMC Ekaterinburg Player Sandrine Gruda
"It was a very interesting game and obviously not everything went the way we wanted. I am happy that we won, but we still have a lot of work to do. It is good to be home and play a EuroLeague Women game at home especially after the last one was not so fortunate for us."
UMMC Ekaterinburg Head Coach Olaf Lange
"Tonight we saw a game of two different halves. In the first part we were aggressive, shot the ball extremely well, acted tough on defence and I enjoyed the game. In the second half we lost our aggression and initiative and I am disappointed with the result. Nevertheless the positive thing was that we saw how good we can play at home and now we need to combine two halves together and try to keep our aggression for all 40 minutes."