Bourges Escape Istanbul With Narrow Win

29 February 2008

Bourges survived a late scoring burst by Cappie Pondexter and beat Fenerbahce to clinch a place in the EuroLeague Women Final Four for the second year in a row.

Pondexter scored eight of her game-high 31 points in the final two minutes as her team pulled to within one point of the French giants, but Bourges held on for a 74-72 win.

Pierre Vincent's team, which won the opener in front of its home fans on Tuesday, traveled to Istanbul and had a 70-62 advantage with less than 2:00 remaining when Pondexter threatened to pull off a stunning comeback for the Turkish side.

She buried a three-pointer and after immediately stealing a pass by Endene Miyem, was fouled and made both free throws to close the gap to 70-67 with 1:37 remaining.

Pondexter's next move was to reach in and steal the ball from Celine Dumerc, dribble to the other end and hit a jumper to cut the deficit to 70-69 with 16 seconds to play.

She was then whistled for a foul on Dumerc with 10 seconds remaining, and the France international went to the line and calmly sank both shots to restore the three-point advantage.

But when play resumed after a Fenerbahce timeout, Bourges' Cathy Melain fouled Birsel Vardarli who made both shots with six seconds to go.

The Turkish team fouled Dumerc with no time going off the clock, and she made both attempts for a 74-71 lead.

Vincent's team then prevented Fenerbahce from attempting a potential game-tying three-ball when fouling Pondexter with one second to play.

Pondexter made the first and then intentionally missed the second, but Fener weren't able to get the rebound and time expired.

For the second straight year, Fenerbahce exited the competition at the quarter-final stage.

Australia international Snell had 20 points to lead the French side.

Fenerbahce made 25 of 27 (92.5%) at the free throw line, a big reason they were able to remain within striking distance.

Bourges won the rebounding battle 38-30, and won despite turning the ball over 21 times to just 14 committed by Fenerbahce.

Bourges will now go to the Final Four full of confidence, and looking very dangerous as they attempt to win a fourth EuroLeague Women title and first since 2001.

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