|UMMC Ekaterinburg guard Sue Bird had a career-high 23 points |
UMMC Ekaterinburg grinded out a 61-55 victory over Good Angels Kosice on Tuesday in the opening Round 2 game of the EuroLeague Women.
Sue Bird, a four-time champion in her days with Russian rivals Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje, led UMMC with a career-high 23 points.
The way the USA international star performed with Tuesday's game hanging in the balance bodes well for Ekaterinburg.
She had scored a total of 17 points in her four previous EuroLeague Women appearances for UMMC.
Algirdas Paulauskas' team trailed 41-40 until Bird hit a jump shot with just seconds to go in the third quarter.
Then early in the fourth quarter, after a Tatiana Vidmer three-point play had put the hosts on top 45-41, Bird hit Kosice with a dagger they would not recover from.
The veteran caught a pass from behind the arc and drilled a three-pointer for a 48-41 lead.
Candace Parker followed with a jumper to stretch the lead to nine.
Miljana Bojovic, who had 10 points, 10 assists and four rebounds for Kosice, then reeled off five consecutive points to give the visitors hope.
She connected from behind the arc and then tipped in a teammate's miss to close the gap to 50-46.
But Bird made sure victory was going to be UMMC's with a basket and then Olga Arteshina extended the lead back to 54-46 with a jumper.
Bird, the only UMMC player to reach double digits in points, finished five of 10 from long range and eight of 16 overall.
UMMC hit eight of their 19 shots from behind the arc.
Kosice got 17 points from Danielle McCray and 16 from Natalia Vieru.
Bojovic had nine of Kosice's 22 turnovers.
Game 2 is on Friday in Slovakia.