UMMC Juggernaut Rolls Into Final

22.03.2013

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

13. Candace Parker (UMMC Ekaterinburg)
Candace Parker's flawless week continued on Friday night with the American posting 24 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and four blocks

Turning Point: Bourges were magnificent for the first 17 minutes and still level at 25-25, but UMMC took complete control with a quite devastating 18-0 run either side of half-time, holding Bourges scoreless for six minutes.

Game Heroes: Candace Parker was on-fire and finished with 24 points from nine of eleven floor shooting, completed a sparkling double-double with 14 rebounds and also added four blocks, three assists and two steals.

Stats Don't Lie: UMMC have still not given up more than 45 points in a game all week. However, they gave up seven offensive rebounds during the opening 15 minutes of the game and will need to avoid a repeat in the final.

A sensational performance by Candace Parker was the highlight for UMMC Ekaterinburg as they punched their ticket for a first EuroLeague Women Final in a decade with 73-44 success against gutsy Bourges Basket.

The forward posted one of her best displays in a UMMC vest, as the hosts overcome a sloppy start to eventually overpower an already depleted Bourges team, cruelly denied the use of French national team forward Endene Miyem due to a back injury.

Parker was just happy to now be able to focus on a title game after a string of third placed finishes off the back of semi-final disappointments.

"I wouldn't say there's a sense of relief, but it's just really nice to get the third place monkey off our back," smiled the forward.

"Playing in Sunday's Final is what we have been working for all season."

Despite the final margin, Bourges made life difficult for much of the first half, as UMMC showed signs of some early nerves as they failed to settle.

But that was also due to some brilliant offensive rebounding by Johannah Leedham and Stephany Skrba for the French side, epitomising their aggression and spirit.

Bourges started with the first nine points of the game and even when UMMC finally got moving with eleven points in a row, they held firm and even led 18-16 after the opening period.

There was then woe for UMMC on two counts, as Ewelina Kobryn rolled her ankle and Bourges leaked only five points in five minutes before teenager Christelle Diallo put them in front at 23-21.

But, with the game tied moments later, UMMC clicked into top gear either side of the interval, ending any hope Bourges had of a completing a major shock. They began to pick their opponents apart and a 22-8 third quarter killed-off the French club completely.

Fittingly, on her 100th appearance in EuroLeague Women and against her former team, Anete Jekabsone drained successive scores from long-range at the beginning of the final frame to get the party started early in front of another packed house enjoying their team moving to within touching distance of the title they have craved for so long.

 


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