|Aurélie Bonnan had 13 rebounds for Nantes Reze|
It was honours even in the first-leg of the EuroCup Women quarter-final between Nantes Reze and Istanbul Universitesi with both teams inseparable and playing out a rare 74-74 draw.
At one stage in the contest it had looked like Nantes might be in a position to take a handy lead to Turkey, since they managed to build up a 61-48 advantage late in the third quarter.
But, foul trouble and a late barrage of scoring helped the visitors to erase the deficit ahead of the second-leg next week.
A couple of free-throws by Marielle Amant had initially got the local crowd revved up as their team moved 21-14 ahead during the first-half and they still led by four points at the interval.
Better things were to follow as the home favourites continued their good work and with Australian forward Cayla Francis a powerhouse in the paint, they pushed their lead out to double-digits.
But, led by strong shooting efforts from Israeli guard Liron Cohen and forward Melisa Can, Istanbul Universitesi began to pick holes in the home defence and saved themselves from defeat with 26 points in the last 10 minutes as Nantes ran out of steam.
Aurelie Bonnan had 13 rebounds for Nantes, with Francis adding 18 points and Caroline Aubert dishing up 10 assists.
Cohen top scored for the visitors with 17 points and also added five assists.
Nantes Reze Basket Player Aurélie Bonnan
"We didn't manage the last action well but this game didn't come down to one possession. I think we showed tonight that we have our place in this quarter-final clash despite the quality of Istanbul. Of course we would prefer to win. I think we deserved to win but don't forget that our opponent is one of the biggest team in the EuroCup. They played very well too. Can we win at Istanbul? Of course we can, it will be difficult, we know how it's hard to play in Turkey but there will always be five players on the court for each team and no matter the reputation of players we are going to Istanbul to take our chances. I'm proud of my teammates tonight. We made a big game"
Nantes Reze Basket Head Coach Emmanuel Coeuret
"Of course I'm disappointed but we have to remember where we come from. It's one of the biggest games I ever coached here. I've nothing reproachful to say to my players, nothing. Our chances? 50/50. The tie makes us believe but if I have to be honest when you see Istanbul players we know that it will be difficult. Did you see the talent of Cohen? What a player. But tonight I see Isis Arrondo who went eye to eye with this player. I saw all of my players making a great game and if I'm frustrated I'm also very proud of her."
Istanbul Universitesi Coach Hasan Fira Okul
"We started very bad, Nantes didn't. It was very difficult. We found some good shots like those which Liron Cohen took. It's a good result for us but it was very hard. I want to thank the Nantes coach and players for this great opposition."