|Candace Parker ran the floor like a guard for UMMC Ekaterinburg, picking up fast-break points like pennies|
Two sublime performances from Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi fired UMMC Ekaterinburg to a 94-75 home victory against ZVVZ USK Prague as the tournament favourites retained their perfect record in Group C.
Whilst an eighth win in as many games never truly looked to be in doubt, the visitors did make it a fascinating encounter after posting a blistering 29-18 second quarter to level the scores at 51-51 at the interval.
It was a highly entertaining first half of action and as Ekat left the court to head for the locker room,s visibly rattled at their unexpected blip, there was a sense that Prague would probably have a storm to try and ride out when they returned - and so it proved.
For as terrific as the visitors were and especially defensively, Ekat were back to their brilliant best at the start of the third period and Prague couldn't cope as the hosts shifted though the gears.
A 22-4 run, finished by a score from Ewelina Kobryn restored the early dominance of the Russians to effectively kill off any notion of a shock road win.
This was something which was always going to be tough for Prague to achieve with Parker and Taurasi in such irresistible form. The former finished with a double-double of 26 points and 14 rebounds, whilst the latter had 24 points and seven assists.
Prague had five players in double-figures, including Ilona Burgrova who attained 14 points from six of nine floor shooting, as the Czech club slipped to a 3-6 record.
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ZVVZ USK Prague player Eva Viteckova
"We started well but later gave up getting back in defense and lost the pace. It seemed that the game was decided, but what I liked the most was that we didn't give up and changed the score. Unfortunately the beginning of the second half was not so good and we were not strong enough to compete successfully with the home team."
ZVVZ USK Prague head coach Natalia Hejkova
"It's a pity to lose by 19 points. We ended the first half evenly and it was a great success but still it was not enough to play good basketball for only 20 minutes. UMMC did really good, each player of the team acted well on her own and it turned out to be a problem for us. I had only one playmaker and after 20 minutes she started to make mistakes. We stopped playing a compact game and had to shoot from inconvenient positions. We missed a couple of our players but sometimes injuries happen in basketball as well as in everyday life."
UMMC player Ewelina Kobryn
"Thanks to USK Prague for a good game. In the second half we acted much better on defense than we did in the first part of the game and it worked out. Now we are going to compete for the Cup of Russia and we want to win it and bring it to Ekaterinburg."
UMMC Head Coach Olaf Lange
"Our defense was very poor in the first half. We let the opponent to score 51 point and in the second it was only 24 points taking into account that they finished the game with three-pointers. So it was a game of to different halves. We still miss the chemistry that we had before Christmas, but I hope we will be able to find it from game to game. Our defense in the beginning was far from the way it should be. This time it was enough to win, but still we will work hard to improve it."