|15 October 2008|
If TTT Riga were supposed to be in a celebratory mood with the EuroBasket 2009 draw being held in the city earlier in the day, MKB Euroleasing made sure the party didn't last long.
The Hungarian outfit broke open a close game over the last six minutes and cruised to an 86-71 win.
Trailing 66-65 with 6:18 remaining after Riga's Belarus international Tatyana Troina's three-pointer, Kathleen MacLeod replied with a shot from the arc to spark a 7-0 run for the Sopron team.
The Hungarian champions ended up outscoring their opponents 21-5 over the last 5:59 of the contest.
"We played like a team," winning coach Norbert Szekely said. "Many players scored a lot of points ... we showed good defense."
Riga had trailed by as many as 14 points late in the first half but battled back, only to fall away late in the fourth quarter.
"We are not ready as a team, yet," Riga boss Ainars Cukste said.
"Not enough team action, loss of concentration. Players didn`t feel each other tonight.
"It`s a pity to start a tournament with a loss because this game was a very important one."
When it was over, Troina had hit six three-balls and led the hosts with a game-high 21 points, while Essence Carson poured in 17 and grabbed six rebounds.
Riga's Ieva Kublina, the Latvia international who has returned home after playing at Dynamo Moscow, poured in 16 points and hauled in nine rebounds.
MacLeod, Dora Horti and Amber Holt scored 16 apiece for MKB EuroLeasing.
Szekely added: "Our first goal we expect this year is to get into play-offs. We are a small club, but after this game, we would like to be in a third position in our group."