BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Candace Parker continued in great form to fire UMMC Ekaterinburg to a cup triumph |
UMMC Ekaterinburg made a statement of intent for the remainder of the season after they crushed arch rivals Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje 82-53 to lift the Russian Cup.
The hosts of the EuroLeague Women Final Eight demonstrated why they will be favourites to add to their silverware haul in March with a performance of real power to leave Sparta&K stunned.
Ekat were on top from tip to buzzer after a 23-9 opening period set the tone, whilst Candace Parker continued her hot form of late with 18 points which helped her take the Cup MVP award.
It was also a case of Ekat extracting revenge for their Russian League loss at Sparta&K last month, something team captain Maria Stepanova was quick to point out.
"Before the New Year, we had a disappointing defeat, but during the holidays, we had time to reflect on the fact that we have the right to make mistakes.
"If you take the last game against Sparta&K, they scored with all their shots and it sometimes happens like that.
"But today, they didn't go and we really showed very good defence to win."
In the third-placed game, Dynamo Moscow edged out Nadezhda Orenburg 73-70, with Laura Harper excelling by claiming 25 points and 11 rebounds as well as coming up big during crunch time.
BLMA SUFFER DEFEAT IN FRANCE
Elsewhere, Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration suffered only their second league loss of the season after a big shock in the French League. They were beaten 66-60 at Hainaut Basket who climbed off the bottom of the table, despite being short-handed with just a six player rotation. A double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds from Ifunanya Ibekwe got them home.
The result deepened the crisis at Arras Pays D'Artois who are now rooted at the bottom of the standings after they were routed 74-45 by Bourges Basket. They are now three games adrift of third from bottom Villeneuve D'Asq.
In joint second place with Bourges are Perpignan, who took an impressive 74-68 success at Toulouse thanks to an excellent 27 points from Croatia national team playmaker Iva Ciglar, whilst EuroLeague Women side USO Mondeville crashed 78-66 at Tarbes after Angelica Robinson accrued a notable 16 points and 19 rebounds.
GALATASARAY BACK ON TRACK
There was an all EuroLeague Women clash in Turkey when Galatasaray welcomed Tarsus Belediye and the hosts reacted to their shock home loss to CCC Polkowice last week by racking up a convincing 79-57 success as Sancho Lyttle harvested 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Fenerbahce breezed to an 87-57 win against Adana Botas, whilst Kayseri Kaskispor remain in third spot after Greek national team forward Zoi Dimitrakou poured in 20 points to take down Samsun 82-68 on the road.
NO STOPPING RIVAS
Finally in Liga Femenina, Rivas Ecopolis kept their perfect record intact although they had to work hard to claim a valuable 71-66 win at Tintos De Toro Caja Rural. The victory was built on a terrific effort by young Queralt Casas (vote for her as Young Women's Player of the Year) who had 19 points.