Ros Casares Fly Past Bird-less Ekat

28.03.2012

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

Turning Point: This arguably arrived before the game had even tipped off when a facial injury during the warm-ups to UMMC Ekaterinburg playmaker Sue Bird led to her missing out. Additionally, a pair of Lauren Jackson triples shortly ahead of half-time were vital in helping to break a previously tight game open.

Game Hero: It was just a hard working team performance by Ros Casares.

Stats Don't Lie: Fundamentally, 49 points is rarely going to be enough to win any game at the elite level. Shooting 0-of-8 from three-point range and rarely getting themselves to the foul line, meant it was a long night for UMMC Ekaterinburg. Their 25 turnovers sure didn't help either.

Ros Casares breezed past fellow EuroLeague Women heavyweights UMMC Ekaterinburg 62-49 to get their Final Eight campaign off to a winning start after their Russian opponents were left reeling by the late withdrawl of the influential Sue Bird.

Ekat had to rip up their game plans after Bird's unfortunate nose injury just before tip-off and despite their stacked roster, her absence was always going to be a factor - especially against a quality team such as Ros Casares.

Without their main point guard to call upon, Ekat laboured offensively throughout the first half, starting slowly and that trend continued throughout the game.  They only managed to score one basket during the first six minutes although their defence was at least keeping them in the game.

With little transition of any kind for either team, Ros Casares crawled into a 13-8 first quarter lead and it wasn't until the second quarter when Lauren Jackson sunk a couple of three-pointers that they put some daylight between the teams.

While the loss of Bird was important, sizable credit was also due to the defence and hard work of Ros Casares which helped carry them to a 33-20 lead into the locker rooms.

Only Sandrine Gruda and Deanna Nolan had managed more than one basket for the losing team and UMMC Ekaterinburg were absolutely stone cold from the perimeter.

Needing a response, head coach Algirdas Paulauskas knew a strong start to the second half was vital. However, it was Ros Casares who picked up where they left off and they completed a game winning 24-6 run either side of the half-time interval to wrap up the game early.

At 49-26 there was not be no way back for UMMC Ekaterinburg and Ros cruised to victory as Ekat carried out little more than a damage limitation exercise.


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