CSKA Overwhelm Lille

09 January 2008

CSKA Moscow rolled to another decisive victory on Wednesday evening in the Russian capital to remain undefeated in the EuroLeague Women.

Looking every bit as powerful as the side that won the competition in 2005, CSKA destroyed ESB Lille Metropole, 101-61.

Center Maria Stepanova, the two-time reigning FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year, attacked the French team in the first half with such fury that it appeared her New Year's resolution is to lead EuroLeague Women in scoring.

She had 21 points in the first half alone and ended up pouring in 33 for the game on 13 of 16 (81.2%) shooting from the floor. Stepanova also made seven of nine shots (77.7%) from the free throw line.

Rebecca Hammon had 17 points and Ilona Korstin, the Russian international who was very effective for her gold-medal winning national team last year at the EuroBasket Women in Italy, finished with 16.

CSKA stormed out to a 21-8 lead with just over a minute remaining in the opening quarter and extended that advantage to 16 early in the second quarter, with a Hammon three-ball putting the home side in front at 26-10.

Lille Metropole showed terrific spirit and battled back, with a Bénédicte Fombonne three-pointer closing the gap to 26-22 with 5:26 remaining in the first half.

Korstin ended the run by hitting a shot from the arc to restore a seven-point lead, but a jump shot by Shala Crawford would cut the Lille deficit to 32-30 with 3:03 left in the second quarter.

Stepanova finished the first half with a flourish, making a lay-up after a feed from Nicole Powell, and then hitting a pair of free throws for a 44-34 lead at half-time.

CSKA started the second half on a 9-2 run and ran away to a decisive victory.

The CSKA defense forced Lille Metropole to turn the ball over 22 times. Gundars Vetra's CSKA had just nine turnovers.

France national team center Edwige Lawson Wade finished with 13 points, eight assists and six steals in an excellent performance for CSKA.

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