Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sylvia Fowles knows the outcome. Erika de Souza and Elena Tournikidou don't.
The hope of Ros Casares was that they would make it to the final four in Euroleague this year. Unfortunately, standing in their way was the two-time defending champion, the Russian superteam known as Spartak. Unlike the other quarterfinals matches this one took all three games, but Ros Casares fell by a 79-70 score, eliminating Ros Casares in the Euroleague.
The last standing Spanish team in Euroleague is Ros Casares's rival, Perfumerias, the only team to beat Ros Casares in regular league play. It must be very disheartening to fans of El Ros.
The box score is here. When clicking the link, you'll find both a gallery and a game writeup.
Spartak led 25-18 after the first quarter but Ros Casares closed the gap to just three points at halftime, 44-41 (it was 42-41 at one time). In the third quarter, Ros Casares fought back to actually take the lead 54-53 on a 3-pointer by Delisha Milton-Jones. Elisa Aguilar followed with another 3-pointer, and El Ros led by four, 57-53.
Down 59-54, Diana Taurasi put on a show. She would score the next nine points of the game as Spartak turned a five-point deficit into a 63-59 lead at the end of three quarters.
For the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, Spartak did not score. Free throws by Ros Casares cut the gap to one point, but Spartak went on a 9-2 run and led 72-64 with 3:32 left in the game. A pair of free throws by Milton-Jones cut the gap to 73-69 with 1:42 to go, but Ros Casares would come no closer.
Spartak hit 45 percent of its field goal attempts, including shooting 8-for-17 in 3-point shooting. Ros Casares would only shoot 37 percent. Spartak outrebounded Ros Casares overall 37-29, although both teams were even in offensive rebounding. Amazingly, Spartak turned the ball over 24 times but managed to win. Both teams performed more or less evenly well at the free throw line.
Diana Taurasi: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists. Undoubtedly, the player of the game. Taurasi is the Phoenix Mercury's franchise player.
Sylvia Fowles: 23 points, 13 rebounds, 7 turnovers. Her play sparked at least a couple of Spartak runs. "Big Syl" will return to the Chicago Sky this year.
Sue Bird: 15 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists. Ros Casares's defense had trouble with Bird and Taurasi. Bird is one of the stalwarts of the Seattle Storm.
Lauren Jackson: 12 points, 3 rebounds for this MVP free agent.
Kelly Miller: Only four minutes played. Zero points for this Minnesota Lynx guard.
Delisha Milton-Jones: 18 points, 4 assists, 5 steals.
Erika de Souza: 11 points, 8 rebounds. Only played 26 minutes, fouling out of the game.
Amaya Valdemoro: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 6 turnovers.
Jana Veselá: 4 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists.