BC Dynamo Moscow Region edged Germano Zama Faenza in the home leg of their EuroCup Women semi-final on Thursday.
Chasity Melvin poured in a season-high 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds but the Russian club only managed a 62-59 win, setting up a thrilling return leg for next week when the aggregate scores will determine the winners. Considering the position the hosts found themselves in late in the first half, however, a three-point triumph will not go unappreciated.
Marija Eric`s three-point play gave Faenza a 37-28 lead with 3:30 to go in the second quarter, but Melvin made a lay-up - taking her tally to 17 points at that stage - to finish off an 8-0 Dynamo run to close the first half and leave them behind by a single point. A flurry of three-pointers saw the lead exchange hands three times early in the third quarter. Greek international Anastasia Kostaki made one to put Dynamo in front at 40-39, with Faenza`s Eric and Dynamo`s Elena Danilochkina then exchanging three-balls. Those were the only two three-pointers Dynamo would end up hitting as they finished two of 11 for the game.
The Russia team were able to go on a spurt at the end of the third period, with a Melvin lay-up stretching their advantage to 52-44. They held that same advantage with six minutes to go after a three-point play by Melvin made it 57-49. But they were unable to pull away thanks to Faenza guard Simona Ballardini and forward Emanuela Ramon. The two combined to score 10 points for the remainder of the quarter to keep their team close and Dynamo had to settle for a three-point win, leaving them with a very difficult trip to Italy where they will attempt to clinch the aggregate win that will put them in the final.
Dynamo enjoyed a 46-37 advantage on the boards. Eric had 18 points and Ballardini 16 in defeat.