|Seen here playing for Nadezhda, Shameka Christon came back to haunt her former club on Wednesday night with a game-high 20 points|
Shameka Christon caught fire on her return to Nadezhda to propel Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration to a nail-biting 59-57 Group B success in the first contest of the new EuroLeague Women season.
Christon had the hot-hand all night long and buried six three-pointers in a mesmerising 20-point performance as BLMA returned to the competition in style after their one-year absence.
The French visitors were always on top after some fine defence during the first half helped them into a double-digit lead at 20-10.
A triple by Natalia Zhedik on the stroke of half-time reduced the arrears to just four points and gave the hosts some impetus for when they returned to the floor.
When summer signing Anna Cruz converted from long-range to put Nadezhda in front at 36-34, it looked like they might assume control.
But BLMA re-discovered their form and moved ahead 51-43 thanks to playmaker Virginia Bremont, to establish a handy cushion for down the stretch.
In a tense finale, they held on for the win even though they scored just three points in the last three minutes and dodged a bullet as Dewanna Bonner tried snatching the game for Nadezhda with a three-point attempt during the closing seconds.
Bonner had a fine 18 points and 12 rebounds in defeat.
Gunta Basko-Melnbarde, BLMA player
"We are happy we won. The first game is always very important, especially when it is an away game. We performed everything the coach said and are very happy we managed to win. Orenburg always has a crowded gym and, of course, it is rather hard to play when seeing such fan support to the opponent's team but it is a big pleasure at the same time."
Dewanna Bonner, Nadezhda player
"The game was very tough, credits to the opponent's team. They played good defence, blocked our attacks. And they scored a lot of three-point shots, which, of course, helped them a lot. We have things to work on and in the future we will try to please our fans."
Valéry Demory, BLMA Head coach
"We are very happy. It is a great success to start EuroLeague with winning an away game. I may say we played a good game, scored lot of three-point shots. Generally speaking, the game was very tough: both teams played good defence and therefore lot of easy shots were missed."
Algirdas Paulauskas, Nadezhda Head coach
"We played not good enough on defence, our shooting percentage is really low both in terms of two- and three-points shots. Besides, we had lots of turnovers - 19. All these factors, plus we had a difficult game in Kurska couple of days before and didn't manage to restore our strength, and all that affected the game result."