Seimone Augustus opened her Final Eight campaign with a shared team-high 18 points
Turning Point: Tied up at 58-58 and with Schio keeping pace with the favourites, a devastating 17-4 run by Sparta&K either side of the third quarter break proved decisive. Their burst of scoring included two big triples from Seimone Augustus and Elisa Aguilar, in addition to a tough ‘and-1' play from Marina Kuzina.
Game Heroes:Seimone Augustus and Candice Dupree combined for 36 points although a late cameo from veteran Spanish guard Elisa Aguilar sparked the late Sparta&K surge.
Stats Don't Lie: Despite 32 points from Jantel Lavender and 21 points from Giorgia Sottana, the Italians couldn't find a genuinely productive third or fourth scorer to support them.
Candice Dupree admitted there is still some defensive fine tuning to do for Sparta&K MR Vidnoje after they opened their account at EuroLeague Women Final Eight with an 88-79 success against Famila Schio.
Speaking after an influential contribution, the forward admitted her team needs to tighten the defensive screw as the tournament unfolds.
She said, "Offensively I thought we were fine in this game but our defence definitely needs more work, since we gave up more points than we would have liked."
"(Jantel) Lavender played great for them but I think if we play defence like that for the rest of the week, things might not go too well for us."
It was a sentiment echoed post-game by head coach Pokey Chatman, although the play-caller was relieved Schio didn't find the additional scorers they needed to be successful.
Lavender was a constant thorn in the side of Sparta&K, nailing jump shots with ruthless efficiency as Sottana pulled the strings in the backcourt, dishing up ten assists to secure a fine double-double.
But, Sparta&K had too much in their locker and the superior depth and physicality eventually wore down Schio as they put together a potent three minute spell which defined the outcome of the game.