|12 April 2014|
|"We will wrap up this tournament by playing with pride and gaining that back" - Diana Taurasi |
In a stunning video piece filmed earlier in the week at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight, Diana Taurasi spoke about how losing meant misery for a couple of weeks and that for her, winning was the other team not winning.
Defeat by her former club Galatasaray odeabank in the semi-finals therefore proved to be a particularly gut-wrenching experience.
While respectful of the third place game against Tango Bourges, the American star was already scanning the horizon for the next trophy on offer and specifically retaining the Russian Championship.
"This week was going to be a defining moment for this team because last year we won everything and this season we came back with same goals," said Taurasi who had 21 points against Galatasaray.
"We have already won the Russian Cup and regular season title but now of course the EuroLeague Women title is out of our hands.
"We will wrap up this tournament by playing with pride and gaining that back, because going back into the Russian Championship is not going to be easy."
Rather inevitably, in the immediate aftermath of their somewhat surprise loss, questions were immediately posed to Taurasi about her future intentions and she emphatically stated, "I'm coming back."
Olaf Lange meanwhile conceded his team hadn't performed and was ruing his team's lack of defensive focus.
"Two things happened in that first-half," said Lange.
"Galatasaray shot a high percentage and it felt like they scored with almost every shot that they threw up.
|"UMMC are a great team who will want to come back after losing, so it will be very difficult" - Bourges head coach Valery Garnier|
"Our defence was just not where it needed to be and we fell too far behind.
"We tried to pull it back and our defence should have kept us in the game and always given us a chance.
"However, [Shavonte] Zellous and [Alba] Torrens got far too many open looks."
He added, "We played well in the second half, but it just wasn't enough and they mixed up their defence well and did a good job of slowing us down in transition, which really hurt us."
As for Bourges, they beat UMMC during the regular season but were mauled 82-43 on the second day of Final Eight.
And, head coach Valerie Garnier accepted it would be a challenge to bounce back from their semi-final defeat to Fenerbahce and sign-off with a victory.
"I am without some of my players and we are tired," she stated.
"UMMC are a great team who will want to come back after losing, so it will be very difficult."
"But I am already very proud of my players and to reach the last four of this competition already represents a big success for us."