|16 January 2014|
|Adana Botas' Sandra Igueravide (blue) hit a late three to hand her team a dramatic victory|
An opportunity to progress to the quarter-finals of EuroCup Women appears wide-open for many clubs involved in the eighth-finals after a flurry of nail-biting first-leg contests set up several mouth-watering second-leg games.
Competition debutantes Norrkoping Dolphins produced another gutsy display, with the Swedes only 11 seconds away from taking a lead into game two against Adana Botas, only for a three-pointer by Sandra Igueravide to give the Turkish side a dramatic 55-53 win.
Things might have been different had the home side found their range from downtown, but they struggled all night and it was left to 17 points from Elisabeth Egnell and a stellar 14 points and 11 rebounds from Kali Bennett to keep their hopes alive.
The decisive triple by Igueravide down the stretch resulted in her scoring a team-high 17 points for Botas.
Another TKBL club in Tarsus Belediye SK will also take a slender two point advantage into the second-leg next week, after they rode out narrow 87-85 winners against Basket Landes in a high-tempo and offensively orientated game on home soil.
The hosts generally had the edge and finished in front thanks mainly to a great shooting performance by Donneka Hodges who plundered 24 points from a superb 9-of-12 from the floor. Fellow veteran Delisha Milton-Jones contributed 22 points and 13 rebounds.
|Donneka Hodges had a mammoth 24 points as Tarsus Belediye SK clinched a first-leg win|
Danielle Page also claimed a double-double in defeat with 14 points and 13 rebounds, whilst standout teenager Olivia Epoupa had 10 points and three steals, also making a basket in the closing seconds to reduce the deficit.
In another game decided at the death, a jump-shot by Anastasia Logunova in the last seconds delivered a thrilling 61-59 home success for Chevakata Vologda against Mersin Buyuksehir Bld.
Russian wing player Liudmila Sapova led Chevakata with 17 points, whilst Courtney Paris hauled down 15 rebounds for the visitors who had led by as many as six points in the final quarter before a late run by the Russians.
There was success for Villeneuve d'Ascq on the road as they came away from Horizont Minsk with a precious four-point lead to take into the second meeting after claiming a hard-fought 65-61 victory in the Belarusian capital.
Lenae Williams set the tone with 16 points in the first-half for the visitors and it looked like they might take a comprehensive advantage back home when they went 40-27 ahead shortly before the break.
But, Horizont came roaring back and even grabbed the lead at 52-48, before Villeneuve wrestled the initiative back again. Tatyana Troina, Tatsiana Likhtarovich and Aleksandra Khomenchuk all produced the goods for the home team with excellent displays which culminated in 45 points.
|Tina Charles and Dynamo Moscow remain on track for back-to-back titles|
Meanwhile two of the frontrunners to land the EuroCup Women title remain Istanbul Universitesi and current holders Dynamo Moscow, with both showing their credentials by claiming big victories on their travels.
The former enjoyed an 87-55 destruction of Aluinvent Miskolc as Crystal Langhorne continued her love affair with the competition by producing a fine 18 points and 10 boards in the victory, having been crowned a champion last season.
Her ex-employers Dynamo Moscow had to work slightly harder against a PEAC Pecs team who had strengthened their frontcourt with the addition of Ieva Kublina, but the Latvian star didn't manage to line-up and they went down 69-55.
The need for Kublina was evident as Tina Charles and Nadezhda Grishaeva dominated inside, sharing 28 points and 21 rebounds.
Serbian shooter Nevena Jovanovic continues to impress for Pecs and added a creditable 14 points and excellent nine boards for the losing team.