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Sopron Win Thriller At Ekaterinburg

31.01.2006

MKB Euroleasing Sopron took a giant step towards winning their EuroLeague Women last 16 play-off series with UMMC Ekaterinburg by claiming the opening game 80-77 at the home of their Russian opponents.

MKB can now secure their place in the next phase of the competition by winning the second of the three contests in Hungary on Friday.

Olexandra Gorbunova and Ivana Matovic both contributed 20-point hauls for the victors and Ekaterinburg were left to rue a late mistake by Elaine Powell.

MKB led by one after Ivana Matovic made one of two from the free throw line and with seven seconds remaining, Powell lost possession with a bad pass - her fourth turnover of the game.

The hosts had to foul to stop the clock with five seconds remaining, and Reka Cserny buried both from the line.

Ekaterinburg were unable to get the ball back up court to launch a potential game-tying three-pointer.

Powell's mistake capped a miserable last few minutes for Ekaterinburg who saw a six-point lead chipped away by a determined MKB outfit.

The two teams had entered the contest with identical 5-5 records from the group stages and there was little to separate the pair during this encounter with the lead changing hands on a regular basis.

On a couple of occasions Ekaterinburg looked to be gaining the upper hand, but MKB kept within touching distance and that proved crucial in the final stretch.

Aside from her 20 points, Gorbunova also pulled down six rebounds while MKB point guard Nikki Teasley had an impressive outing with 14 points and 10 rebounds. She also dished out seven assists.

Ekaterinburg's players shared the points around with five reaching double figures in scoring.

Australian ace Suzy Batkovic led her side in both scoring (17) and rebounding (seven) while the unlucky Powell finished with 13 points and a team-high five assists. 

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