Sopron Survive Bourges Comeback

17.02.2009

MKB Euroleasing Sopron promised Bourges a fight in their EuroLeague Women Quarter-Finals clash and gave them one in the opening game on Tuesday night.

The Hungarian team travelled to France and led by 17 points at the end of the third quarter before being forced to hold on at the end for a 68-65 triumph.

Bourges had a chance to pull level at the end but veteran Cathy Melain was off target with a potential game-tying three-pointer.

Sopron are supposed to be too young and inexperienced to be making headlines this late in the European season but they're proving that their players are good enough.

That suggests they are old enough, too.

Many would argue that Sopron's 19-year-old Jelena Milovanovic has been the best young player of the EuroLeague Women.

Consistency has marked her campaign and in the win over Bourges, Milovanovic had 25 points.

One of her baskets came at the end of the first half.

Coming out of a timeout that was called by Bourges, she caught a pass from Katalin Honti and buried a jump shot to put MKB on top 36-35, and send the visitors to the changing rooms full of confidence.
 
When play resumed, the Serbian youngster took over and scored 13 third-quarter points as her team seized a 63-46 advantage.

The renowned Bourges defense then turned it up a notch and held the visitors without a point for the first 6:22 of the fourth quarter, pulling to within 63-51 before Dóra Horti stopped the rot with a jump shot to put Sopron back in front by 14.

Bourges continued to dominate play, though, with an Emmeline Ndongue basket trimming the deficit to 12 with 3:05 to go.

The home fans began to really believe their team had a chance after Katarina Manic buried back-to-back three-pointers to make it a 65-59 game with 1:00 remaining.

Following a Sopron turnover, Celine Dumerc was fouled but made only one of two at the charity stripe to cut the deficit to five with 53 seconds to go.

After Amber Holt also split a pair from the line, Kathy MacLeod fouled Dumerc while she was attempting a shot from the arc and the France point guard went to the charity stripe with three free throws and made two.

Ndongue, who had a team-high 18 points, grabbed the offensive rebound off the missed third attempt, scored on the put-back and drew a foul.

She went to the line and converted the three-point play to close the gap to 66-65 with only six seconds left.

Bourges fouled Milovanovic and she sank both attempts to again make it a three-point Sopron advantage.

Pierre Vincent's team had four seconds to get the ball up the floor and launch a three-pointer, but Melain missed.

Now Bourges must travel to Hungary for Friday's Game 2 and go into battle again, hoping to force a decider back in France.


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