Eric Leads Faenza To Victory

21 November 2007

Germano Zama Faenza finally picked up their first victory in the EuroLeague Women, winning on the road 86-80 at TEO Vilnius in Group D action.

Marija Eric knocked down five three-pointers on her way to 22 points and Daliborka Jokic added 16 points for Paolo Rossi's Italians, who improved to 1-2 in the group. Simona Ballardini chipped in 14 points and Marlous Nieuwveen collected eight points and 16 rebounds for the winners.

Vilnius dropped to 1-2 in Group D despite 21 points from Lithuanian national team star Sandra Valuzyte while Belarus international Yelena Leuchanka and Nykesha Sales each tallied 17 points.

Algirdas Paulauskas's team was held to 40% shooting by Faenza, who were able to overcome committing 22 turnovers, mainly because they drained 9-of-22 three-pointers (41%).

The hosts jumped ahead 8-2 and Eric's three-pointer trimmed the lead to 14-11, but long-balls from Lithuanian international Rima Valentiene and Valuzyte completed a 10-2 run for Vilnius's 24-13 advantage after one quarter.

Eric started the second period with a three-pointer, sparking a 16-2 surge which gave the Italians the lead 29-26 on another Eric three-ball. Valuzyte answered right back with a three-pointer to tie the game.

The contest went back and forth the rest of the half with seven lead changes and Adrijana Knezevic's three-pointer at the buzzer evened the game 43-43 at the break.

Neither side could grab a clear advantage of the game and there were another eight lead changes before Faenza went on a 10-2 run over the final three minutes of the third to lead 69-62 going into the fourth.

Jokic's lay-up made it 71-62 before Sales knocked down a long ball to start a 18-7 surge to pull ahead 80-78 with just over two minutes left.

But Paulauskas's team came up empty on their final six possessions and Ballardini knocked down a three-pointer to give the Italians back the lead.

And Jokic and Eric added baskets of their own in the 1:20 for the victory.

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