SpartaK Sweeps Fenerbahce, To Face UMMC in Final Four

Clearly the underdog heading into their series-opener, the Sparta&K MR Vidnoje overcame the odds after they swept the top-seeded Fenerbahce in the EuroLeague Women Final Four with a 74-56 win in Game Two on Friday 25 February in Vidnoje, Russia.

Epifanya Prints paced the Russian squad with her 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field, while American superstar Sue Bird 13 points and three assists for Sparta, who pulled off a huge 86-78 upset road victory in Game One of their Quarter-Final showdown.

Sparta head coach Pokey Chatman felt a great sense of relief after her team successfully hurdled a huge roadblock with their impressive defense that propelled them to this year’s Final Four.

“We had a great defensive effort and we kept the top scoring EuroLeague Women team almost 20 points below their season's average.” Chatman said after the game. “We respected them but never feared them.”

Jelena Milovanovic also had a productive night for the Russian squad, scoring 10 points in only 13 minutes of playing time, while Taj McWilliams did the dirty job, racking up eight points and a game-high ten rebounds, helping Sparta advance to the final four for the fifth-straight season.

“We felt that we had to qualify to this year's Final Four,” said Irina Osipova, who chipped in four points and six rebounds for Sparta. “We felt his presence throughout the game.”

Sparta, who never trailed for the entire game, will face UMMC Ekaterinburg, who seemed to be peaking at a perfect time, sweeping Cras Basket Taranto in a lopsided Quarterfinal series.

UMMC, who made roster moves before the playoffs to bolster their chances this year, clobbered Cras Basket Taranto, 74-32, in front of a hostile Italian crowd in Taranto, Italy.

One-time WNBA MVP and Rookie of the Year Candace Parker was simply too much for the Italian squad as she racked up 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go with six rebounds, while Maria Stepanova added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Russian squad.

The Final Four showdown between the two Russian powerhouses will kick off on 8 April in Vidnoje, Russia.

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