Halcon Avenida Bags EuroLeague to Title to End SpartaK’s Reign

Halcon Avenida successfully bagged this year’s EuroLeague Women title when they hammered out a thrilling 68-59 victory over Sparta&K Moscow on Sunday night in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Motivated by their finals defeat two years ago, Avenida played inspired basketball, controlling the tempo for almost the entire game and it was enough to end the reign of Sparta&K MR Vidnoje, who have won four-straight championship, including their win against Halcon in 2009 in Spain.

Known for their solid frontline composed of Spanish star Sancho Lyttle and Brazilian standout Erika DeSouza, Avenida’s backcourt did the damage this time as Silva Dominguez finished with 16 points, while Spanish hotshot Alba Torrens added 13 markers.

“It was a difficult game,” said Avenida’s Anna Montanana. “It was hard to score in the beginning. Both teams played neck to neck, but we believed and succeeded to take the lead.”

Halcon and Sparta&K refused to let each other to pull away in the first half that ended with Avenida on top by only eight points, but the Spanish squad came out firing in the second half. Dominguez sparked a huge 13-2 rally, giving Avenida a commanding 43-28 lead.

The Russian squad managed to pull within striking distance, but Avenida’s offense and stifling defense was simply too much for Sparta&K, despite Sue Bird’s big plays for the Russian team.

“Our plan for the game was to stop the important players of the opponent,” said Avenida coach Lucas Mondelo. “Moreover, we used alternative defenses, some new moments, built our play from inside to outside and everything turned out well for us.”

Lyttle also had an impressive game for Avenida, scoring 12 points to go with 13 rebounds, while Anke De Mondt and Belinda Snell added nine and seven points, respectively for the newly-crowned champions.

Taj McWilliams, on the other hand, led Sparta&K with her 17 points and 11 boards, while Bird finished with 16 points, which were not enough to record their fifth-straight title.

“Congratulations to Avenida for their win,” said Sparta&K coach Pokey Chatman. “We were very much aware of this team and ready to oppose them, but all the players were tired. They were more aggressive, and built better defense. Our shooting percentage was 10% less.”

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