|Rebekka Hammon delivered her best performance of the season, falling one assist short of a double-double|
Veteran Becky Hammon rolled back the years with a scintillating performance to fire Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje to a 91-84 play-off victory against a resilient Municipal Targoviste in an entertaining EuroLeague Women shootout.
The guard finished with 23 points, dished up a fabulous nine assists and managed to drain five triples from just six attempts in a game-winning performance to hand the advantage in the series to her team.
Playing without point guard Nika Baric or center Isabelle Yacoubou, Sparta&K produced an inauspicious first half, particularly defensively.
They found themselves tied 46-46 heading to the locker rooms, having given up more points during the first twenty minutes as they had in any regular season game.
Romanian national team star Gabriela Marginean claimed 15 of her 22 points in the first half for Targoviste, although Sparta&K head coach Pokey Chatman ensured she was well shackled when the play resumed.
And, this made the difference as the hosts outscored their opponents 26-14 in the third quarter to take control, with Hammon continuing to pull the strings with real aplomb.
At 72-60 heading into the final quarter, the writing was on the wall for Targoviste, although they kept plugging away and even in defeat, ensured they finished on a high to take some momentum and confidence into the second game.
The other main reason for Sparta&K riding out winners was the three-point shooting of Evgeniia Belyakova who just like Hammon, also managed to sink five triples.
Marginean and Matee Ajavon shared 41 points for Targoviste whilst Candice Dupree was excellent under the basket for Vidnoje with 20 points from 10-of-14 floor shooting.