Defending Superleague Women and EuroLeague Women champions BC Volgaburmash have had the best team in Russia this season, but that may be about to change if UMMC Ekaterinburg keep playing as they did on Wednesday in a demolition of MKB Euroleasing Sopron.
Milica Dabovic poured in 20 points for the winners, but it was the early efforts of Suzie Batkovic (18 pts) and Yolanda Griffith (12) who gave Ekaterinburg a stranglehold on their game against Sopron en route to a 99-74 triumph for the hosts.
Batkovic's two free throws tied the game at 4-4 two minutes and eight seconds into the game and then Griffith, who recently led the Sacramento Monarchs to the WNBA crown, scored seven consecutive points to put the hosts on their way to victory.
|Milica Dabovic |
When Batkovic buried a jump shot with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Ekaterinburg had reeled off 19 consecutive points and held a commanding 21-4 advantage.
The dynamic duo had combined to score 17 of those points.
There was no way back into the game for the visitors at that stage.
By the end of the first quarter, Ekaterinburg led 27-12 and they stretched that to 52-31 by half-time.
So what should Europe make of this result? Ekaterinburg have a serious one-two punch with Batkovic and Griffith, two players who know each other well from their battles for their respective countries.
Batkovic represents Australia, and they finished runners-up to Griffith's USA in the gold medal game at the Athens Olympics.
Ekaterinburg will advance to the next stage from Group B as they have four wins from seven games.
The Sopron team dropped to 3-4 but they, too, should figure in the reckoning as the tournament progresses.