|Iouliti Lymoura and Sony Athinaikos are trying to defend their title in the EuroCup Women|
Sony Athinaikos didn't blow out DAS Ano Liosa in Greece's top flight in their weekend game, but the 66-57 victory and the way the winners played in the second half left coach Ioannis Ktistakis in a confident mood before their big clash in Spain this week with Mann Filter Zaragoza in the Eurocup Women.
Athinaikos found themselves trailing 32-27 at the break but outscored the home side 23-11 over the next 10 minutes and held on for victory.
"I'm happy with the picture presented in the third period, during which we played very good and aggressive defense, we controlled the rebounds and we were able to run in the open court and pull surprises," said Ktistakis.
"It was an important victory on the court of a difficult opponent, which brings us even closer to the goal of being first in the regular season.
"Now, in our mind we only match in Zaragoza, which is expected to be the most difficult so far this year season."
Athinaikos set the bar so high last season that it's going to be tough to repeat.
They won the Greek Cup, the Greek League and the Eurocup Women.
Mann Filter coach Victor Lapena was all smiles in Spain because his team beat Rivas Ecopolis last time out.
Rivas are the Copa de la Reina champions and play in the EuroLeague Women.
But Lapena knows Athinaikos have very good players.
"It's a team that is unbeaten in the Greek League and has the largest base of players in the Greek national team, in addition to international figures such as Ruth Riley (2000 US Olympic champion) and Marina Kress (Belarus international) we know very well from their time in Spain."
The other EuroCup Women ties see Nantes Rezé at home to Russians Chevakata in France, Spaniards Gran Canaria visiting Elitzur Ramla in Israel and Dynamo-GUVD of Russia hosting French outfit Arras.