Champions Make A Statement Of Intent

07 April 2014

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

32. Diana Taurasi (UMMC Ekaterinburg)
Diana Taurasi began the night by hitting her first five from downtown on the way to a game-high 17 points

Turning Point: Trailing 17-16 early in the second quarter, UMMC recorded a devastating 12-0 run sparked by what was to be a three-point barrage by Diana Taurasi.

Stats Don't Lie: UMMC dominated in most categories, but the standout area was on the boards, where they thoroughly overrun their opponents 48-26 on the glass.

Game Heroes: Taurasi made her first five shots from long-range and finished with 17 points. Candace Parker and Sandrine Gruda were scintillating in the paint and combined for 26 points and 17 rebounds.

Reigning champions UMMC Ekaterinburg showed they are in no mood to relinquish their coveted EuroLeague Women title after opening up their account with a breathtaking 80-47 success against Final Eight newcomers Nadezhda Orenburg.

The superior ball movement of the host club gave them some great looks and combined with the trademark defence on which last year's success was built, they were far too strong all over the court.

The win was savoured by EuroLeague Women legend Ann Wauters, who had a very different experience when drawing a blank with Galatasary last year.

"It's always great to start with a win and we really needed to bring this kind of performance to open up the tournament," said Wauters.

"We have been waiting to play this game for some time and we needed to test ourselves, we appreciate it is only one game.

"Last year wasn't a very good memory for me and that is why it was so enjoyable for me personally."

With a large travelling support behind them, Nadezhda supporters had actually found plenty to cheer about during a pulsating and high-octane first quarter, which witnessed them take a 15-13 lead.

However, a three-ball by Taurasi ended the scoring for the opening period and was very much a sign of things to come.

14. Deanna Nolan (UMMC Ekaterinburg)
Deanna Nolan was a consistent backcourt presence for UMMC Ekaterinburg

While Nadezhda briefly got their noses in front again, it was to be one-way traffic for the remainder of the game as they wilted under the perimeter bombardment of Taurasi and inside-play of Gruda and Parker.

Once UMMC opened up a double-figure lead they began to ease their way quickly out of sight, and when the energetic Deanna Nolan made it 50-30 during the third quarter, they were able to engage cruise control until the final buzzer sounded.

Meanwhile Nadezhda head-coach, George Dikeoulakos, added that his team were always looking past their difficult opening fixture.

He said, "We went to win, but we had our minds on the next two games and had to think about saving some energy.

"We lost our minds in the second quarter and UMMC played a level and maybe even several levels higher."

Dewanna Bonner had 16 points and seven rebounds for the losing team.



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