Taurasi, Shchegoleva Spark Spartak

08 February 2008

Spartak Moscow Region brushed aside Teo Vilnius on Friday to complete a two-game sweep of their EuroLeague Women Eighth-Finals series.

The defending champions, who won Game One 93-67, reeled off the game's first eight points in Vilnius and cruised to the easiest of wins.

Diana Taurasi (Spartak Moscow Region)
Diana Taurasi had a game-high 24 points for Spartak Moscow Region
Diana Taurasi finished with a game-high 24 points for Spartak, who have lost just once all season in Europe.

Fourteen of her points were scored in the first half when Spartak took command for good.

Taurasi finished shooting nine of 12 from the floor, including four of five from three-point range, and she also handed out six assists.

It was two of Spartak's Russian internationals, Tatiana Shchegoleva and Marina Karpunina, who got them off to a fast start against TEO.

Shchegoleva and Karpunina made the first two field goals, and Lauren Jackson then followed with back-to-back shots for an 8-0 lead.

Jurgita Streimikyte, the former Lithuania international, scored TEO's first points with a lay-up four and a half minutes into the game.

But Taurasi quickly replied with a pair of free throws and Shchegoleva, who will play for Europe at the EuroLeague Women All-Star Day in Vidnoje next month, then nailed back-to-back jumpers for a 14-2 Spartak advantage.

TEO did not score their second basket until 2:07 remained in the quarter when Sandra Valuzyte made a jumper.

That made the score 16-6 in favor of Spartak, who increased the lead to 20-7 before the end of the period.

Kristin Haynie (TEO Vilnius)
Kristin Haynie finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds
Thanks largely to Kristin Haynie, TEO stayed within striking distance for a while longer.

After she took her points haul to seven with a jumper and Ausra Bimbaite followed with another, TEO had trimmed the deficit to 27-20.

Taurasi answered with a jumper, and then added a three-ball, to put Spartak back on track.

A 9-0 Spartak run to finish the first half, which started with a Shchegoleva jumper and was capped with a Sue Bird three-pointer, gave Spartak a 47-29 advantage and effectively killed off TEO.

Shchegoleva had 17 points in the game, including 12 in the first half.

Considering Spartak this year has Lauren Jackson, who finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, they have good reason to believe they are even stronger than one year ago when they captured the title.

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