Turning Point: As Sparta&K M. R. Vidnoje know only too well, there's nobody better in crunch time than Diana Taurasi and she made the big play at the end of the game to inflict defeat on her former team.
Game Heroes: Taurasi poured in 25 points while Ivanka Matic and Isil Alben enjoyed efficient shooting performances, both scoring 14 points.
Stats Don't Lie: There was very little between the teams although perhaps Sparta&K dipping below their normally impressive three-point shooting played a part. They shot 31.8% from downtown in this one.
A basket in the last few seconds by Diana Taurasi against her former club helped Galatasaray Medical Park to overcome Sparta&K M. R. Vidnoje 73-71 as the hosts wrapped up their involvement with a second win of the tournament.
Despite being without the influential Tina Charles and Epifaniya Prints, Galatasaray made a rapid-fire start to the game and gained the upper hand.
Both teams were tied on 7-7 but the hosts outscored the former champions 18-6 to take a commanding 25-13 lead at the end of the first period. It was a super shooting performance by Galatasaray who shot almost 60% from the floor.
Their level of shooting barely dipped during the second quarter although this was absolutely necessary as Sparta&K worked hard to reduce the lead.
Trailing 35-25 they managed to make it a one shot game as Nika Baric scored but it was Gala who headed to the locker room on a high and with a 38-30 lead after Isil Alben wrapped up the first half-action with a triple.
Sparta&K regrouped and refocused at the break to enjoy an excellent third quarter, reminiscent of their opening game against Wisla. Collectively they did a much better job and particularly offensively with six different scorers in the third period.
This helped them to not only draw level but to take a 56-54 advantage into the last ten minutes after a score by Serbian forward Sonja Petrovic.
Both clubs enjoyed a share of the lead during the final quarter but neither could establish any real daylight and it was tied up at 69-69 with less than sixty seconds remaining.
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Galatasaray Medical Park head coach Ceyhun Yıldızoğlu
"First of all congratulations to Sparta&K. They had a strong game. Actually we stopped their shooters in the first half. But in the second half they played smarter than us and came back. At the end of the game, especially our team captain Işıl Alben and Diana Taurasi played really well. We are happy for the win, but at the same time sorry for two home losses. I hope that next season we will do better."
Galatasaray captain Işıl Alben
"We are sorry that we have lost on the first day of Final 8. We played badly at the end of the games and we lost two home games. I want to congratulate Sparta&K for they fought hard today."
Sparta&K M. R. Vidnoje head coach Pokey Chatman
"First congratulations to Galatasaray. When you have quality players to go out there and finish out a tough 4 days, that speaks volumes of play at a high level. Unfortunately we didn't do some thigs we need to do in order to have success. There is a certain level that we have to play at. We have to play off each other, screen and make extra passes so we can get match-ups. But we didn't do that and the result is a two point loss. But more importantly we are going to go home healthy, get ready for some tough Russian playoffs."
Sparta&K point guard Jelena Skerovic
"I think we didn't play on our best level today. We didn't play good defense and missed a lot of shots when we needed to score. We had also some turnovers. So we were unable to close the game while we were ahead in the last two minutes. Congratulations to Galatasaray, they played very well and made the last shot."