Gruda, USVO Shock Lotos Gdynia

15.11.2006

US Valenciennes staged a fourth-quarter comeback and then won in overtime to stun visitors Lotos Gdynia in the EuroLeague Women.

Final Four participants just one season ago, USVO have had changes in personnel and have yet to find their rhythm but they claimed a thrilling 75-67 victory on Wednesday.

After falling to Ros Casares and Fenerbahce in their opening to games, the French giants were staring at a third straight setback and trailed 55-44 with less than nine minutes to go after Paulina Pawlak's lay-up.

Sandrine Gruda passed to Soeli Garvao Zakrzeski, who laid one up and in to start the comeback almost two minutes later.

The Polish team went cold, and Garvao Zakrzeski made a jumper and then a lay-up to cut the deficit to 55-50.

When Australian international Kristi Harrower, a recently crowned world champion, sank a jump shot with 2:14 to play, the visitors led 57-54.

Pawlak and Co ultimately could not hold USVO off.

Pawlak fouled Gruda with 14 seconds to go and she made two free throws to tie the game and Tamika Whitmore's failed jumper at the buzzer for Lotos sent the game to overtime.

Vedrana Grgin Fonseca located Emilie Gomis, and she nailed a three-pointer to start the extra period on the right foot for USVO.

Two Whitmore free throws trimmed the lead to one, but Slobodanka Tuvic and Grgin Fonseca scored consecutive baskets.

Lotos Gdynia got no closer than four points as USVO pulled out an unlikely victory.

Gruda led the winners with 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals.


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