Gambrinus Brno's Nykesha Sales had unfinished business with BC Volgaburmash Samara going into today's EuroLeague Women championship game.
Sales played her first ever game in Europe at the FIBA World Women's League in Russia in October 2005. Brno met Samara in the final, and Sales shot 1/8 from the field for two points as Samara romped to a 70-61 lead.
"After this game, Sales told me that she wanted another shot at Samara," said teammate De Lisha Milton.
"I owe them, she told me, and I want to show everyone that I'm better."
|Sales celebrates during the fourth quarter against Samara|
Sales did more than show everybody she could be better. She proved her ability to score in the clutch and a game-winner, evidenced by her 16-point fourth quarter display against Samara that brought a EuroLeague Women title to Brno and earned her MVP honours.
Sales produced an unimpressive semi-final, scoring nine points in in Brno's win over USVO.
She was zero of three from the field going into the fourth quarter of the final against Samara and was yet to be a factor in a defensive battle in which no single player had yet stamped their authority.
Sales, however, changed all that with a remarkable fourth quarter display which brought Gambrinus their first-ever title.
She opened the final period with a three-pointer, which gave Brno a 49-44 lead and sparked a virtuoso performance in the last 10 minutes of the game.
She went on to hit her next four shots, scoring 10 consecutive points as Brno opened up a 56-50 lead against the 2005 champions.
Sales also contributed under the boards, a critical factor in Brno's victory over Samara (they outrebounded the Russians 42-24), grabbing three rebounds in the final period.