Matovic, Beard Lead Lotos PKO BP To First Win

06 November 2008

Ivana Matovic joined Lotos PKO BP in the summer from Spartak Moscow Region looking for more playing time and the Polish giants will be glad they signed her after Thursday night's 79-76 win over Jolly JBS Sibenik.

The 25-year-old Serbian forward poured in 27 points and grabbed five rebounds and American guard Alana Beard scored 21 with five boards and five assists as Lotos PKO BP prevailed for the first time in this year's EuroLeague Women after defeats to Ros Casares, UMMC Ekaterinburg and Union Hainaut Basket.

Magdalena Leciejewska also had a big game for Lotos PKO BP with a game-high 15 rebounds - more than twice than any other player in the match - to go with her seven points.

Croatian outfit Jolly JBS went into the contest riding a two-game winning streak in the EuroLeague Women and led by as many as five points in the first half.

Constance Jinx arrived in Poland averaging 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds, making her one of the star performers in the EuroLeague so far this season.

She had 16 points in the first half and 30 overall.

Trailing 46-43 at half-time, Lotos PKO BP took their first lead in the third quarter with 3:51 remaining when Belarus international point guard Natallia Marchanka went in for a lay-up to make it 52-51.

Lotos PKO BP didn't take the lead for good, however, until Leciejewska drilled a jumper to break a 56-56 tie with 58 seconds remaining in the third period.

The Poles went on top by five in the fourth quarter but Jolly JBS refused to go away and twice cut the deficit to just one point late in the game.

Luca Ivankovic closed the gap to 74-73 with 1:15 to play with a three-pointer, and after Matovic replied with a three for  Lotos PKO BP, Monika Veselovski buried a shot from the arc with 50 seconds to go to make it 77-76.

With 26 seconds remaining, Matovic came up with a big offensive rebound when Beard was off target from three-point range.

Jinx then fouled Beard with 17 seconds to play and the point guard made both shots from the stripe to increase the lead to 79-76.

Jolly JBS called a timeout and Jinx was able to launch a three-point attempt but missed and Leciejewska rebounded to preserve the victory.

Lotos PKO BP won the rebounding battle 41-31.

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