Friday, April 9, 2010

Euroleague Semifinals: Spartak Moscow 87, Ekaterinburg 79

Diana Taurasi, "Russian" to another Euroleague final.

Those "in the know" in European basketball were watching this semifinal of Euroleague, as it was very likely that one of these two Russian teams would probably win it all. Spartak Moscow has been Euroleague champion for three straight years, and the rules of Euroleague have forced any two teams from the same country left in the semifinals to play each other. In the last two years, Spartak Moscow has faced Ekaterinburg, and beaten them both times. Furthermore, this year Spartak Moscow is undefeated in the powerful Russia Superleague A.

Nothing would change in this game. Spartak Moscow won 87-79, moving into the finals on Sunday against the winner of Ros Casares-Krakow. Ekaterinburg plays the loser in the 3rd place consolation game.

The game report, box score, play by play, and a small photo gallery can be found here.

What to say? After a tight first quarter, Ekaterinburg built an eight point lead late in the second, but Spartak Moscow fought back to 40-40 on the second of two free throws by Kelly Miller with 23 seconds left. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Cappie Pondexter put Ekaterinburg back in the lead, 43-40 going into halftime.

Both teams resumed the battle in the third quarter, neither side getting more than a couple of baskets ahead of the other. Ekaterinburg took a brief four-point lead in the fourth but Irina Osipova's tip in with 5:19 brought the score to 69-69 for Spartak Moscow. Tied again at 71-71 with 3:27 left, Spartak Moscow went on a 9-0 run that gave Spartak Moscow the lead for good.

Every player that scord in double-digits for Ekaterinburg had a WNBA pedigree. Candace Parker led Ekaterinburg with 18 points and six rebounds. Cappie Pondexter scored 16 points and four rebounds. (Both players would end up fouling out.) Deanna Nolan scored 13 and Ann Wauters added 10 points.

But for Spartak Moscow, it was Diana Taurasi who put the team on her back, hitting 8-for-13 from behind the 3-point line and scoring 37 points and 12 rebounds, also adding six assists. Sylvia Fowles added another double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Anete Jekabsone-Zogota scored 12 points.

Kelly Miller played for eight minutes. Spartak Moscow did pretty well without her.

1 points
1-for-2 free throw shooting
8 minutes played

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