BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Maria Stepanova confirmed her Russian League victory with UMMC Ekaterinburg will not be her last act with the club, extending her stay with the club for at least one more season|
UMMC Ekaterinburg and TTT Riga have both won their domestic championships, with the former retaining their prized title and Riga returning to the top of Latvian basketball for the first time in three years.
GRUDA AND PARKER DAZZLE FOR UMMC
Having been brushed aside with relative ease in the first two games of the Russian Premier League Finals, Nadezhda Orenburg put up a tough fight in the third encounter against UMMC Ekaterinburg, but it still proved to be the last game of the series.
The hosts went down to 63-58 as Sandrine Gruda and Candace Parker both excelled in the paint to carry UMMC to a sweep of their rivals, as they kept their coveted possession in the trophy cabinet for another year.
The silverware in question was held aloft by the legendary Maria Stepanova, who has confirmed she intends to remain with UMMC for one more season.
The veteran will have no doubt been left impressed by the respective contributions of her frontcourt partners, with Les Bleues star Gruda claiming a 24 point haul from a terrific 10 of 15 from the field.
She also came up just one rebound short of a fine double-double, something Parker managed to achieve by adding 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Greek forward, Zoi Dimitrakou had 11 points for a Nadezhda team who just couldn't find the firepower needed to take it to a fourth game.
Making sure they can capitalise on a third spot possibly being given to a Russian club in EuroLeague Women next season, Dynamo Kursk also completed a series sweep after taking down Dynamo Moscow 84-69.
That was thanks mainly to 17 points from Seimone Augustus and also 15 points and nine rebounds from Candice Dupree.
Under the watchful eye of Elen Shakirova who recently replaced Bo Overton as head coach, Kursk successfully extracted revenge for their EuroCup Women Final defeat.
Russian national team center Nadezhda Grishaeva had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the losing team.
TTT RIGA END THREE YEAR WAIT
|Latvian international Kristine Karklina picked up 11 rebounds in TTT Riga's podium-topping victory |
While far from pretty, TTT Riga will only remember the end result as they finally regained the Latvian Championship after squeezing out arch rivals SK Cesis in an absorbing five game series.
With both teams closely matched and none of the previous encounters seeing any substantially one-sided victories, it was perhaps inevitable it would go down to the wire.
Sydney Carter emerged as the hero for TTT who celebrated a memorable and intensely fought 50-45 road success.
She finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, as well as making the decisive free-throw during crunch time which restored her team back to the top of the domestic podium for the first time in three years.
Latvian playmaker Kristine Karklina added 11 rebounds, while Cesis bemoaned the absence of their influential import star Jessica Moore due to injury, only managing an eye-watering 28% shooting display.
Aija Brumermane posed the main threat for Cesis by posting a 10-point, nine-rebound performance.