|Sue Bird made her EuroLeague Women debut for UMMC Ekaterinburg after years int he vest of arch rivals Sparta&K Moscow Region Vidnoje|
For several years, Sue Bird did her best to frustrate UMMC Ekaterinburg as an opposing point guard of Sparta&K Moscow Region.
On Wednesday night, the USA superstar wore the UMMC jersey for the first time in the EuroLeague Women and helped the Russian club win 88-56 at VICI Aistes.
Bird, one of the best point guards in the history of the competition who changed teams after last season, will remember this game for a long time, but not because of her performance.
Looking to shake off some of the rust after months of inactivity after having hip surgery, Bird played 25 minutes and was one of nine from the floor, scoring just three points.
Everyone expects UMMC to get better with the four-time champion in their squad.
For now, they can rely on other talented players, including Candace Parker.
She poured in 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Kaunas.
UMMC opened up a 20-13 lead by the end of the first quarter and extended that to 43-26 by half-time.
Algirdas Paulauskas' team cruised the rest of the way.
Deanna Nolan (16pts), Anete Jekabsone (15), Olga Arteshina (11) and Sandrine Gruda (10) all contributed in the victory as UMMC improved to 8-3 in Group A.
VICI Aistes, who upset Ros Casares on the same floor a month ago, got 11 points from Vita Kuktiene.
UMMC head coach Algirdas Paulauskas
"We knew that VICI could make unpleasant surprises for opponents in Kaunas. We did not want to be surprised so we did our homework well. It was a tough game. Because of injuries I had to play only with 8 players. Both teams were good in defense but UMMC is a stronger team at the moment."
UMM center Yelena Leuchanka
"We knew that its hard to play in Kaunas. VICI had a good game against Valencia, so we analyzed our opponents well. Our team did a good job in defense and rebounding so we could make baskets in transition. We still made some mistakes, but generally it was a good game for us."
VICI-Aistes Kaunas player Vaida Sipaviciute
"We wanted more from this game but made to many mistakes and could not stop their fast brakes. We have to believe in ourselves more like we did against Valencia."
Vici head coach Mantas Sernius
"We are a young team and we are two maybe three years short to reach their level. As a coach I must admit that UMMC is a much superior team than ours. The UMMC players have more experience, they read the game in defense and offence much better than us and they are used to do that at very high level."