Seasoned EuroLeague Women campaigners Frisco Sika Brno grabbed the upper hand in their Eighth-Final Play-Off with Rivas Ecópolis on Tuesday by winning the opening game of the best-of-three tie in Spain.
In a very spirited performance, Jan Bobrovsky's side put their Czech Cup Final defeat to USK Prague from the weekend behind them and prevailed 88-83.
Taj McWilliams led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds for the victors, who played with just six players.
|Taj Mc Williams had a double double in the win against Rivas|
Point guard Zuzan Zirkova and center Petra Kulichova are both out of action with injuries.
Hana Horakova and Eva Viteckova - Czech internationals and members of Brno's EuroLeague Women title winning side of 2006 - scored 21 and 19 points, respectively.
Frisco got their noses in front early and built a comfortable 55-43 advantage by half-time.
The advantage ballooned to 61-43 early in the third after a McWilliams jumper and then Brno extended the lead to 67-48 on a basket by Viteckova.
Behind by 19 entering the fourth quarter, Rivas went on a 10-2 run to pull to with 73-61 and with 1:41 to go, the home fans began to hope when a Crystal Langhorne jump shot cut the visitors' advantage to 84-78.
After the teams traded baskets, Begonia Garcia made a three-pointer in the waning moments for Rivas to reduce the arrears to 88-83 but that's how it finished.
Losers of four straight in the EuroLeague, Rivas will look to stay alive when they travel to the Czech Republic for Friday's Game 2.
Langhorne had 23 points and 11 rebounds in defeat.