Ann Wauters led the way for UMMC Ekaterinburg as they opened up their EuroLeague Women Group B campaign with a hard fought 87-73 win against plucky Gospic Croatia Osiguranje who managed to push the tournament front-runners hard during the early exchanges.
The Belgian star registered a perfect seven of seven from the floor 14 points and 6 rebounds in 21 minutes for the visitors although for long periods, Ekat struggled to dominate the home team who made life difficult for their more illustrious opponents.
Much of that was down to Maurita Reid who poured in 20 points on debut for her new team who left the visiting team reeling when they won the first quarter 24-22.
That fired up the visiting team who began to find some rhythm and even more noticeably, some defence in the second period when they outscored their hosts 25-15 thanks.
It was thanks mainly to a 9-2 run to end the half with a triple by Agnieszka Bibrzycka and an inside score by Wauters in the closing stages helping their team take an eight point advantage into the locker room.
When the teams re-emerged for the second half it was a case of déjà vu for the spectators when the same two players converted in exactly the same manner and that meant a 13 point lead for the visiting team.
That was still the margin at the end of the third quarter and while the home team battled valiantly, they were unable to haul themselves back into the contest as the class and depth of Ekat proved too much.
Sandrine Gruda weighed in with 17 points and 8 rebounds in just 19 minutes for the Russian club.