Bird, Fowles, Taurasi & Pondexter Clinch Wins In EuroLeague Quarterfinals
The first four EuroLeague Quarterfinals games were played on Feb. 17 and three of the four home teams captured victories. The Olympic gold medal trio of Sue Bird, Sylvia Fowles and Diana Taurasi won their battle against Olympic teammate DeLisha Milton-Jones as host Spartak Moscow Region downed Ros Casares Valencia 65-57; UMMC Ekaterinburg, featuring Olympic gold medalist Cappie Pondexter, had an easy time with the visiting Fenerbache SK to a tune of 94-62; Halcon Avenida and USA National Team member Michelle Snow hosted MiZo Pecs 2010 and took that game 85-63; while MKB Euroleasing traveled to France and edged Bourges Basket 68-65.
Spartak Moscow Region 65, Ros Casares Valencia 57
A 21-13 first quarter effort by Spartak Moscow Region helped the squad overcome a 20-point, 11-rebound performance by Amaya Valdemoro as the two-time defending EuroLeague champion earned a 65-57 victory at home against Ros Casares Valencia in the first of the best-of-three quarterfinals series.
Spartak went up by as much as 31-18 with three minutes remaining in the first half and still led 33-24 at the break. Ros Casares fought back in the second half and claimed a 42-41 edge with 14 minutes remaining. Spartak raged back with a 6-0 run to take a 47-42 lead into the final stanza.
The game remained a tight affair from there as Ros fought to regain the lead. With two minutes to go, DeLisha Milton-Jones hit a shot to narrow the gap to 59-57. However, Sylvia Fowles responded with a traditional 3-point play to pad her squad's lead 62-57.
Fowles powered through the match with 12 points, nine boards and six blocked shots; Diana Taurasi posted 12 points and added six rebounds, two assists and two blocks; Sue Bird pitched in 10 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out six assists; while Aussie Lauren Jackson had a team-best 17 points.
Milton-Jones scored eight points and grabbed seven boards, while Elise Aguilar posted 11 points for the Valencia club.
The Russian side finished 21 of 44 (47.7%) from inside the arc while Ros Casares was15 of 49 (30.6%). Spartak outrebounded Ros Casares 42-38.
UMMC Ekaterinburg 94, Fenerbache SK 62
Host UMMC Ekaterinburg owned a 49-35 halftime advantage, then used the second half to really put the game out of reach with a 24-14 third quarter and 21-13 fourth quarter for the eventual 94-62 blowout of Fenerbache SK.
USA National Team member Asjha Jones posted a team-high 19 points, while 2008 Olympic gold medalist Cappie Pondexter contributed 14 points and six assists; Australian Penny Taylor and Agnieska -Biba" Bibrzycka had 15 points apiece and Sandrine Gruda contributed 11.
Nevin Nevlin had 23 points and seven boards in her team's loss.
UMMC owned a slim 31-28 edge on the boards, but sank 68.7 percent (33-48 FGs) of its 2-point field goals as compared to 51.0 percent (24-47 FGs) made by the visitors.
Halcon Avenida 85, MiZo Pecs 2010 63
Owning a 52-40 halftime lead, Halcon Avenida stormed out of the locker room with a 15-5 third-quarter scoring spree to blow the game open 67-45 with 10 minutes to play and rolled to the 85-63 victory.
USA National Team member Michelle Snow paced her team in the win with 17 points, adding seven rebounds, and American Le'Coe Willingham scored six points and grabbed a game-best 12 boards.
Former USA Basketball gold medalist Nicole Ohlde paced her team with 21 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
MKB Euroleasing 68, Bourges Basket 65
In the closest outcome of the day, MKB Euroleasing survived a late comeback attempt by host Bourges Basket, but prevailed with the 68-65 victory.
The Hungarian squad, which held a 17-point lead heading into the final frame, allowed the hosts to get back into the game and escaped an overtime period when Catherine Melain's game-tying 3-pointer failed to find its mark.
The 19-year-old Jelena Milovanovic scored a game-best 25 points, including 13 in the third period, while adding six rebounds and three steals for the Hungarian team. Katalin Honti added 16 points and Amber Holt chipped in 12.
Emmeline Ndongue posted 18 points and nine rebounds in her squad's loss.