Lietuvos Telekomas went in to the game against Lavezzini Basket this evening having lost 6 matches in a row. This game had to be a turning point for the Lithuanians in this year's Euroleague as they won in Italy by 32 points and nobody would forgive them a 7th loss.
|Game MVP Jurgita Streimikyte-Virbickiene|
Prior to this game Ukrainian international Olena Zherzherunova was released from the Vilnius club and young Egle Sulciute stepped in to replace her. The pressure from the crowd and the press, who were waiting for the victory, and the changes in the squad made it even more difficult for the home team.
The nerviness was felt coming from the playing court. In the 7th minute of the 1st quarter the score was 9:6 as both teams missed a lot of opportunities to score. Nevertheless, Lietuvos Telekomas took the lead from the 2nd minute and won the 1st quarter 18:16.
Ausra Bimbaite (10 points, 2/2 3pts) and Vita Miklyciute (7 points) helped the team coming from the bench in the 2nd quarter and the Lithuanian side extended its lead to 8 points at the halftime (40:32).
It became very tight game in the 3rd quarter and neither of the teams would break, so after these 10 minutes ended there was no change in the points difference.
The 4th quarter started very badly for the home team. In just a couple of minutes the Italians got very close and a 3-pointer from Svetlana Kouznetsova in the 35th minute cut Lietuvos Telekomas' lead to 1 point. The shadows of the past losses started to haunt the Vilnius players. Having lost some matches by 1 or 2 points the Lithuanians had to settle their nerves. Jurgita Streimikyte-Virbickiene and Olga Murashkina showed their experience and stayed cool, scoring some important points. Ausra Bimbaite also made a steal and dished a sweet assist behind the back to Streimikyte-Virbickiene in a fast-break. But Lavezzini Basket didn’t give up. With 8 seconds left on the clock the score was 73:71 and the Italians stole the ball from Vilnius. Happily for the home team they regained ball possession in the next second and team captain Rima Valentien went on to score 2 more points to win the game 75:71.
MVP of the game - Jurgita Streimikyte-Virbickiene