UMMC Crowned 2013 Champions

24.03.2013

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

7. Sandrine Gruda (UMMC Ekaterinburg)
Sandrine Gruda was a dominant presence under the basket for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the final

Turning Point: From the moment a fired-up Diana Taurasi threw a three-quarter court pass to Candace Parker to make it 8-0 in the favour of UMMC Ekaterinburg, it always was going to be a long night for Fenerbahce who found themselves on the wrong end of a woeful 17-2 start to the game.

Game Heroes: Candace Parker and Sandrine Gruda both produced great performances. Parker finished with a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds, whilst the latter harvested 19 points and eight rebounds.

Stats Don't Lie: UMMC Ekaterinburg shot at an eye-popping 72% from the field during the first five minutes and dished up 10 assists in the first quarter alone, to underline just how hot they were from the tip-off and why Fenerbahce couldn't stem the tide. Fenerbahce were also 1-for-11 from three-point range and on a night they needed to make some outside shots, Cappie Pondexter was 0-for-14 from the field.

The EuroLeague Women Final Eight hosts UMMC Ekaterinburg ended a decade-long wait to be crowned champions as in excess of 5,000 jubilant fans celebrated a dazzling 82-56 success against Fenerbahce.

Overwhelming favourites throughout the season, the star-laden roster of UMMC Ekaterinburg finally delivered against expectation, crucially settling any early nerves with a blistering start to leave the hopes of their Turkish opponent hanging by a thread within a matter of minutes.

Diana Taurasi opened the scoring against her former club and was soon pumping her fist in animated fashion to highlight the focus and determination of the home favourites to come out on top.

They were on-fire during a one-sided first quarter which had Fenerbahce on the ropes and almost on the canvas, as UMMC romped into a 26-11 lead. Moving the ball with real purpose, playing with great energy and fluidity, they looked like a team who believed it was their destiny to top the podium.

At times during the first-half, UMMC were like a runaway train, the worries of Fenerbahce being compounded midway through the second quarter,when the influential Anastasiya Verameyenka picked up a third foul.

The Belarus national team center had barely taken her seat on the bench when Taurasi buried another triple to make it 32-13 and all but extinguish the hopes of Fenerbahce.

However, the Istanbul club did keep their feint hopes alive with an 11-5 run to narrow the gap, but a score by Sandrine Gruda just before the half-time buzzer made it 39-24 to UMMC.

Ivana Matovic continued to lead the Fenerbahce resistance early in the third quarter with three baskets in a row, but UMMC turned up the heat once again with a 9-0 run to make it 54-30.

Angel McCoughtry then began to grow in influence for Fenerbahce alongside Matovic and the duo helped Fenerbahce to potentially get back into the game 68-53, holding the hosts to just two points in five minutes.

But, the damage had already been done due to the early capitulation and there was to be no way back, as UMMC eased their way to the title.

It meant a third consecutive EuroLeague Women winners medal with a third different club for Spanish playmaker Silvia Dominguez who joined a select number of athletes in any sport to accomplish the feat in a continental club competition.

"It's amazing but I think I was just in the right place at the right moment each year," said a modest Dominguez.

"I am just fortunate to be in these teams with great rosters.

"We didn't expect the kind of start we had, but we have to say it was almost perfect in the first quarter for us.

"Now I play for UMMC on the same court as where I won two years ago, it was nice to win the title in front of all these home fans."

One more reason for the UMMC fans to celebrate the evening which will live long in the memory, was that there was even time for the UMMC mascot to successfully propose to his girlfriend on the court at half-time, ahead of a party which was set to last long into the night.

 


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