Spartak Overcome Ros, Valdemoro
Spartak Moscow Region overcame a superlative effort from Spanish great Amaya Valdemoro to win the first game of their EuroLeague Women Quarter-Final against Ros Casares.
Valdemoro scored a game-high 20 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and came up with three steals but it wasn´t enough as the Russians held on for a 65-57 victory.
Spartak opened up a 21-13 lead in the first quarter and then threatened to pull away with a 10-5 run over the next seven minutes.
That gave the two-time defending champions a 31-18 lead with three minutes to go in the first half.
Valdemoro put the brakes on the home side´s surge by scoring four straight points, but Diana Taurasi scored a layup to give László Rátgéber's Spartak a 33-24 lead at the break.
Valdemoro put Casares on her back and carried them back into contention with nine third-quarter points.
One of her layups lifted Casares into their first lead at 42-41 with four minutes left to play in the frame.
Isma Cantó's team trailed 47-42 going into the final quarter.
The game remained tight.
DeLisha Milton´s jumper cut the deficit to 59-57 with less than two minutes remaining.
Spartak center Sylvia Fowles responded with a three-point play as the hosts went into the final minute with a 62-57 lead.
With 34 seconds remaining, Valdemoro, who scored just one point in the last quarter, missed a three-pointer.
Lauren Jackson made no mistake and buried Spartak´s second three-ball of the game with 14 seconds left to play.
The Russians held on to seize the 1-0 lead in the best-of three series with Game 2 in Valencia on Friday.
Jackson led Spartak in scoring with 17 points.
The Russians finished 21 of 44 (47.7%) from inside the arc while Casares were 15 of 49 (30.6%).
Spartak out-rebounded Casares 42-38.