MiZo-Pécsi VSK and Bourges Basket provided the Hungarian fans with some thrilling basketball this evening in the first game of this Quarter-Final series.
The home team held on for the win, but Bourges showed that will be extremely tough for the Hungarian champions to repeat the victory on French soil later this week.
This is the third year in a row that Pecs and Bourges have met in the EuroLeague Women Quarter-Final Playoffs and until now they have split the glory; Bourges went on to the Final Four in 2003 and Pecs took third place in last year's competition.
Tonight the home side started much better than their French guests and after 4 minutes were already up 13-2. Bourges seemed nervous and intimidated by the 4500 fans who had packed out the Lauber Dezsö gym. Albena Branzova was very strong for Pecs in the opening minutes, grabbing rebounds and scoring inside.
|Andrea Karolyi was a key performer for Pecs|
It took Bourges until the 6th minute to score their second basket but after that the players seemed to find some rythmn and the Anete Jakobsone/Laia Palau duo were able to find their way to th ehoop through the tight defence. Dalma Ivanyi kep control for the hosts however and at the first break Pecs still had a 9-point lead 21-12.
The second quarter saw little change. Bourges were unlucky to lose Ljubica Drljaca as she twisted her ankle and had to leave the game. Elodie Godin struggled in offence and missed several open shots and only Celine Dumerc really made any impact. Pecs kept control and didn't allow Bourges to come any closer than 7 points during the entire 10 minutes. Half-time: 42-32.
Neither team could score in the early minutes of the second half and Pecs started to look tired. Bourges refused to give up and gradually pulled back mainly thanks to Dumerc's quick hands on the steal adn Palau's cool head at the free-throw line. With just under a minute left in the quarter Bourges were back within 4 points which they made 3 (52-49) on a Dumerc free-throw in the last second.
Within 1 minute of the final period Anete Jakobsone had equalised the game with a huge 3-pointer. Albena Branozova replied but then again both sides struggled find the hoop. At this point and to the delight of the home crowd, veteran Andrea Karloyi took over for Pecs. She hit two jumpshots and then sank 3-free-throws to hand her team a 7-point advantage with 3 minutes left to play.
Again Palau and Dumerc tried to reply for the French but Pecs this time stayed cool and led by Karolyi and Ivanyi pulled away for the 70-61 victory.
MVP of the game - Andrea Karolyi (Pecs).