SpartaK MR Vidnoje Stuns UMMC Ekaterinburg

Sparta&K MR Vidnoje pulled off a shocker as they stunned UMMC Ekaterinburg, 54-43, in their Final Four showdown on Friday night in front a loud and hostile crowd in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Epifaniya Prints spearheaded her team’s vaunted balance attack as she finished with a game-high 13 points to go with seven rebounds, while Jelena Milovanovic and Taj McWilliams added 12 and 11 points, respectively, with the latter adding 10 boards for Sparta.

Trailing by nine points in the third period, Sparta stepped on the gas and unleashed a huge rally with their sizzling offensive attack combined with their suffocating defense. Ekaterinburg tried to overcome Sparta’s rally, but Pokey Chatman and her team were really determined to reach their fifth-straight EuroLeague Finals.

“You saw two teams, they are both strong, and know each other very well,” said Chatman after the game, whose team eliminated Ekaterinburg in the Final Four for the fourth-straight season. “Before half-time UMMC played well, but in the second half we changed our defense, played zone defense, managed to dominate the court, and were lucky to win. Our players have made a great job.”

Former WNBA Most Valuable Player Candace Parker paced Ekaterinburg with her 11 points and nine rebounds, while Maria Stepanova and Cappie Pondexter added nine and eight points, respectively, but it was not enough to avoid a fourth-straight Final Four exit.

“We are very much disappointed now,” said Ekaterinburg coach Gundars Vetra. “We played very well in defense, especially in the first half, and controlled the pace. After half-time the opponents changed their defense, they started to play zone defense, one-to-one, slowed us, and we failed to find right decisions on the ground”

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