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Ekat Claim First Euro Win Against Rival

30 March 2012
EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

Turning Point: Sue Bird might have been wearing her mask but it didn't affect her shooting range as she drew a big dagger from deep to put her team 80-71 ahead with just two minutes to play and the cushion they ultimately required.

Game Heroes: Sandrine Gruda grabbed a near double-double of 21 points and nine rebounds while Bird had 18 points including four triples.

Stats Don't Lie: Ekat managed to harvest 17 second chance points compared to just six for Sparta&K.

 

UMMC Ekaterinburg claimed a first EuroLeague Women success against domestic rival Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje in a highly entertaining 86-80 victory at Final Eight in Istanbul.

Always holding the upper hand, they fought off stiff resistance from Spata&K with the win only being secured in the last few minutes.

It was UMMC Ekaterinburg who started the game in great style, racing out into a 10-2 lead and taking advantage of their superior size and depth in the paint.

However their initial good work was overshadowed when Maria Stepanova sustained a worrying injury to her knee which forced her out of the remainder of the game.

Sparta&K gradually warmed up and eased their way back into the contest, Becky Hammon continuing her excellent form from three point range and Evgenia Belyakova also managing to convert a trademark triple to help her teamcut the gap to 25-22 at the end of the first quarter.

Hammon got into some foul trouble and with Candace Parker finding herself wide open in quick succession, Ekat threatened to break away once again. But, Sparta&K made some defensive adjustments and stepped up with young Ksenia Tikonehnko picking up one huge and memorable rebound to set up a transition score for her team.

With Seimone Augustus keeping the scoreboard ticking over, Sparta&K managed to keep themselves within touching distance and indeed both teams managed 15 points each during the second quarter.

However, Sparta&K had some difficult moments on offence during after the break and gave up points on the fast break while also finding it difficult to keep Parker and Gruda at bay under the hoop.

A 16-4 run either side of the final quarter break looked to have given Ekat the win early but inspired by Sonja Petrovic and especially Hammon, Sparta&K recovered to set up a great finish.

But, with Sue Bird in inspirational form from downtown she delivered the daggers needed down the stretch for Ekat to come out on top.

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