|Céline Dumerc celebrates a famous victory with Tango Bourges Head Coach Valerie Garnier|
Turning Point: With the game still locked at 35, an 11-3 run during the middle of the third quarter got Tango Bourges onto the front foot and in a position to accomplish the nine-point victory they required.
Stats Don't Lie: The respective three-point shooting performance of both teams proved to be vital, with Tango Bourges making 54.5% and Nadezhda going 2-of-12 from the perimeter. Holding the dangerous Dewanna Bonner and Anna Cruz to an identical 3-of-13 from the floor was also crucial.
Game Heroes: By her own admission, Marianna Tolo had a nightmare initiation to the Final Eight in the first two games, but it was third time lucky as the center produced 13 points and nine rebounds. The other big contributor was Cathy Joens who had a magnificent 14 points in 14 minutes, making four-of-five from long-rage.
Tango Bourges moved to the cusp of successive EuroLeague Women semi-finals after they completed a rousing 65-52 success against Nadezhda Orenburg on the third day of the Final Eight in Ekaterinburg.
While the French champions face the prospect of a lengthy wait to see if UMMC Ekaterinburg could avoid an upset against ZVVZ USK Prague and seal their last four spot, Bourges know they are red-hot favourites to advance.
Reminiscent of their run to the last four of the competition last year when also hit by injuries, Bourges shrugged off the loss of British guard, Johannah Leedham and dug out a fine win.
The trademark defensive presence of Emmeline Ndongue was one of the keys and the veteran center hailed the spirit of her team-mates.
She said, "It was really difficult after opening with two losses and knowing we had to win by nine to have a chance to pass to the semi-finals.
"We were tired and it was a tough game, but we just played with our hearts like we did last year.
"The spirit is what makes us stronger."
Head coach Valerie Garnier added, "I am proud of my players and happy because they are all smiling again.
|Nadezhda try to come to terms with their loss to Bourges|
"We are tired after so many games recently, but we have the confidence to continue."
Knowing they simply had to win the game to potentially move through, Nadezhda never really got started and only momentarily held the occasional slender lead.
Bourges always looked the more likely winners, with Cathy Joens providing instant offence coming off the bench and the forwards growing in stature as the game unfolded.
Once Marianna Tolo made it 59-50 with two minutes to play, Bourges truly believed they could finish the job and so it proved as Celine Dumerc wrapped things up with 40 seconds remaining via a three-pointer from deep.
Glory Johnson had 14 points for Nadezhda who now go home, with head coach George Dikeoulakos stating, "We left all of the qualities which have made us a good team back in Orenburg and I am not sure why.
"Once again we played with far too much stress."