2008-09 EuroLeague Update Vol. 7: Eighth Finals Game 2
(Or as We in the States call it: Sweet Sixteen)
A 26-point performance from Diana Taurasi was the highlight of today's Euroleague Eighth Final playoffs, which was game two in a best-of-three series. 2008 USA Basketball Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird, Sylvia Fowles, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Cappie Pondexter and Taurasi all advanced with their respective teams to the next level of the EuroLeague playoffs; while Katie Smith, Tamika Catchings and Alana Beard will play in decisive game threes next week. Moving on to the round of just eight teams is UMMC Ekaterinburg, Spartak Moscow Region, MiZo Pecs 2010 and Ros Casares Valencia; while Wisla Can-Pack and MKB Euroleasing, LOTOS Gdynia and Fenerbache, Gambrinus Sika Brno and Bourges Basket and CSKA Moscow and Halcon Avenida Salamanca are all tied at 1-1 in the series.
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Game Two: UMMC Ekaterinburg 69, TEO Vilnius 46
Game One: UMMC Ekaterinburg 91, TEO Vilnius 61
UMMC Ekaterinburg (11-1) blew away TEO Vilnius (6-6) in the second half on Friday to capture a 69-46 win and a berth into the Quarterfinals of the EuroLeague playoffs on Friday.
UMMC, who led by six at half-time but opened up a 49-35 advantage with 10 minutes to go. In that pivotal stretch of the third quarter when Ekaterinburg took command, the score was 37-32 when American Asjha Jones and U.S. Olympic gold medalist Cappie Pondexter drilled back-to-back jumpers. Jones then followed with a pair of free throws to make it 43-32.
Down by 15 at the start of the fourth, TEO managed to close the gap to 52-43 with 5:42 to go after a pair of Jurgita Streimikyte jump shots, but Jones and Agnieszka Bibrzycka replied with back-to-back three-pointers and Ekaterinburg stormed to a convincing triumph.
Jones had 15 points and 10 rebounds for UMMC; followed by 14 points and five rebounds from U.S. Olympic gold medalist Cappie Pondexter.
American Crystal Langhorne led TEO with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Game Two: Spartak Moscow Region 92, ZVVZ USK Prague 78
Game One: Spartak Moscow Region 102, ZVVZ USK Prague 86
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Diana Taurasi recorded a game-high 26 points to help Spartak Moscow Region (11-1) capture a 92-78 win and complete a two-game sweep of ZVVZ USK Prague (4-8) on Friday in Praugue. The two-time defending champions, Spartak will advance to the Quarterfinals of the EuroLeague.
Prague held an early 21-18 lead after a 3-pointer from Katerina Elhotova, but Spartak answered with a 14-0 run, including six points from the free-throw line from Taurasi. By the game's midway point, Spartak led 58-40, and the Russian squad maintained its lead through the final buzzer.
Taurasi finished just shy of a triple-double with nine rebounds and eight assists to go with her 26 points; followed by 17 points and eight rebounds from 2008 Olympic gold medalist Sylvia Fowles; 16 points and three steals from American Kelly Miller; 13 points and five rebounds from Australian Lauren Jackson; and 10 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals from two-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird.
Elhotova paced Prague with 17 points; while Evanthia Maltsi added 15 points; American Lindsay Whalen tallied 14 points, five rebounds and five assists; and Ieva Kublina rounded out Prague's double-digit scorers with 12 points.
Game Two: Wisla Can-Pack 52, MKB Euroleasing 39
Game One: MKB Euroleasing 81, Wisla Can-Pack 58
Wisla Can-Pack Krakow (7-5) forced a game-three decider in their EuroLeague Eighth-Finals with MKB Euroleasing (7-5) on Friday by winning 52-39 in Poland.
Thrashed 81-58 earlier in the week in Hungary, Wisla turned up the defensive pressure and held MKB to just 25.5 percent shooting inside the arc on Friday. MKB was their own worst enemy at the free throw line as well, making only 11-of-18 attempts (61.1 percent).
The game was knotted at 28-28 early in the third quarter when Agnieszka Palka struck with a three-pointer for Wisla. American Dominique Canty followed with a jumper, and Jelena Skerovic drilled a three for an eight-point lead for the Polish squad. The run continued until Wisla had a 42-28 advantage with just under three minutes to go in the third quarter, and MKB wasn't able to mount a comeback in the fourth period.
Marta Fernandez finished with 14 points for Wisla, who will look for more of the same when they travel back to Hungary next week for the do-or-die clash for both teams, Canty added 10 points and four assists; and U.S. born Candice Dupree contributed two pints and six rebounds.
MKB's Amber Holt, the only American on the squad, finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Game Two: LOTOS Gdynia 63, Fenerbache 60
Game One: Fenerbache SK 87, LOTOS Gdynia 83 (OT)
LOTOS PKO BP Gdynia (5-7) lived to fight another day in the EuroLeague playoffs by winning game two in their Eighth-Finals tie 63-60 at home against Fenerbahce (7-5) on Friday.
The two sides conspired to score just 14 points between them in the final frame on Friday.
With 4:52 remaining, Fenerbache led 60-57. Neither side scored again until 2008 Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings buried a jump shot with 3:12 left to close the gap to one. Belarus international Natallia Marchanka then put Lotos on top with a basket two minutes from the end.
Fenerbahce wasn't able to make the plays down the stretch as American Tammy Sutton-Brown missed two shots and three-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith, who had 28 points in the opener, turned the ball over twice. After Katsiaryna Snytsina scored with five seconds remaining to stretch LOTOS' lead to three, Smith launched a three and missed. Fener had one more chance after Birsel Vardarli got her hands on the ball but she, too, was off target as Lotos PKO held on.
Catchings had 16 points and seven rebounds for the winners, Marchanka contributed 13, and American Alana Beard added six points.
Smith had a game-high 19 in the defeat, with Nevriye Yilmaz pouring in 17 and corralling 14 boards.
Game Two: Gambrinus Sika Brno 61, Bourges Basket 59
Game One: Bourges Basket 72, Gambrinus Sika Brno 57
Gambrinus Sika Brno (5-7) edged Bourges Basket (8-4) 61-59 in the Czech Republic on Friday night to force a deciding third game in the EuroLeague Eighth Finals back in France next week.
Bourges looked to be in good shape when they led 56-51 with 5:29 remaining, but Brno stormed back with Hamchetou Maiga Ba hitting the go-ahead basket at 1:55 to make it 57-56. Maiga Ba followed with another lay-up to cap the 8-0 run with Brno up 59-56. Celine Dumerc drilled a jumper to end the Bourges drought, which had lasted four and a half minutes, to cut the deficit to 59-58 and to set up a thrilling finish. The game would end up being decided at the free throw line.
With 15 seconds to play, Maiga Ba split a pair of free throws to bring the score to 60-58, and Bourges rebounded the miss. Maiga Ba was then called for a foul on Bourges center Alessandra, but the Brazilian made just one of two with four seconds to go and the score was 60-59 in Brno's favor. After a Gambrinus timeout, Bourges fouled Tamika Whitmore, and the American forward made the first but missed the second free throw to secure a 2-point, 61-59 lead. Cathy Melain grabbed the rebound, rushed the ball up the floor and attempted a three that would have won the game for Bourges, but the shot was off target.
Maiga Ba had 17 points and Eva Viteckova 14 for Gambrinus, while Dumerc poured in 16 for Bourges.
Game Two: CSKA Moscow 95, Halcon Avenida Salamanca 64
Game One: Halcon Avenida Salamanca 80 CSKA Moscow 69
CSKA Moscow (7-5) hit back with a vengeance on Friday to level their EuroLeague playoff showdown with Halcon Avenida (8-4). CSKA opened up a 15-point lead by half-time and then continued to pull away in the third and fourth quarters for a 95-64 triumph. The deciding game three of the Eighth-Finals clash will be played on Wednesday.
Avenida, without the loud support of their home fans back in Salamanca, caved in against a CSKA side that had five players reach double figures. Belgian center Ann Wauters led CSKA with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Three Americans also helped CSKA to the win, including Janel McCarville with 13 points and eight rebounds, Becky Hammon with nine points and seven assists and Katie Douglas, seven points.
Halcon Avenida was led by the team's two Americans, Michelle Snow with 14 points and five rebounds and Le'Coe Willingham with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Game Two: MiZo Pecs 2010 65, Umana Reyer Venezia 57
Game One: MiZo Pecs 2010 61, Umana Reyer Venezia 60
After upsetting the Italians 61-60 in the first leg earlier in the week, Hungarian giants MiZo Pecs (7-5) returned home and, with the help of the rabid support of 4000 fans, completed a 2-0 sweep with a 65-57 triumph over Group B top seed Umana Reyer Venezia (7-5).
The game see-sawed back and forth in the first quarter, but by the end of the frame, Andrea Somogyi's lay-up had given MiZo a 19-18 lead. The hosts then outscored Umana Reyer 11-2 at the start of the second quarter for a 30-20 advantage, and they stayed in front the rest of the way.
Anna Vajda had 17 points to lead MiZo, who also got an outstanding effort from American Nicole Ohlde, who finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.
USA Basketball alumni Essence Carson turned in 12 points and seven rebounds for Umana Reyer.
Game Two: Ros Casares Valencia 81, Maxima Broker Kosice 48
Game One: Ros Casares Valencia 98, Maxima Broker Kosice 53
Ros Casares (10-2) cruised into the last eight of the EuroLeague playoffs with an 81-48 demolition of Broker Kosice (6-6) on Friday night in Slovakia.
Ros trailed 8-2 but then hit another gear and reeled off 11 consecutive points. Two-time Olympic gold medalist DeLisha Milton-Jones had four points in the spurt and Amaya Valdemoro capped the run with a three-pointer. Ros Casares, who stayed in front the rest of the way, led 19-10 at the end of the first quarter and 37-21 by halftime.
The Spanish squad won the battle of the boards 44-30 and were far superior shooting the ball inside the arc, making 26-of-47 attempts, compared to Kosice's 13-of-39.
Erika De Souza had 16 points and nine rebounds for Ros; Valdemoro poured in 16 points; Anna Montanana 11; Milton-Jones tallied 10 points and six rebounds; and Candice Wiggins added three points and five rebounds.
Americans Cathrine Kraayeveld scored a team-high 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for Kosice; while Sidney Spencer added 10 points and three rebounds.