|Céline Dumerc had 21 points in Bourges Basket's win |
Turning Point: An early game-ending hamstring injury to Rebekka Hammon was a huge blow for Sparta&K, since this left Celine Dumerc to shine for Bourges. It also now throws the participation of Hammon into doubt for the rest of the week.
Game Heroes: Dumerc led the way for her team with 21 points and six assists. Marissa Coleman didn't have the greatest shooting night, but made up for it with eight assists, eight rebounds, three steals and two handy baskets during the last four minutes of the game.
Stats Don't Lie: Sparta&K are the leading scorers for the season to-date with an average of 80.9 points-per-game but they fell well short of this with their joint lowest score of the campaign. Eleven offensive rebounds were also a big factor for Bourges and indeed the winning team came out on top on the glass, 36-29.
Depleted Bourges recovered from their first day mauling at the hands of Fenerbahce, to inflict a shock 71-64 defeat on four-time champions Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje.
There was a touch of déjà vu for Valerie Garnier and her team who started positively, just as they had done during their opening game, only this time, they held firm and managed to scrape over the line for the victory.
Whilst their cause was helped by the withdrawl of Hammon, it was the all-round aggression, belief and mentality of Bourges which truly impressed and it left Dumerc thrilled after the final buzzer.
"It was a great victory," smiled the reigning FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year.
"I can't lie, we never thought we could ever be champions and this does not change after this game.
"It was actually a miracle for us and today is a gift for all the difficult times we have had. We didn't win anything, only a game, but it is a good reward for the work we have done."
"My thoughts are now with those injured team-mates who had to stay at home."
The foundation for the win was a confidence-boosting first half for the French club who were scintillating in the early stages, scoring the first ten points of the game before Johannah Leedham fired a three-pointer to make it 19-2.
Even when Sparta&K posted a run to make it 26-13, Bourges kept pressing and controlled the boards which gave them a 48-27 advantage at the break.
Whilst they struggled during the third quarter as Sparta&K cranked up their defensive intensity, Bourges continued to make the tough shots to stop any kind of significant momentum swing.
But, as the clock counted down in the last period, Sparta&K made their move and set up a nervous finale. When Dumerc missed three consecutive free-throws, the game looked to be far from wrapped up and especially when Seimone Augustus made it 68-64.
However, Bourges survived their late scare to take a memorable win.