Sales (183-F/G-76, college:
chose the opportune time to have the game of her life. After not even scoring in
two quarter-final contests, Sales off the bench to score 16 points in the fourth
quarter of a hotly contested game to lead Gambrinus to a 68-54 win over Samara,
giving the Czech team their first ever EuroLeague Women title. As Samara´s
Korstine (183-G-80) misfired and time expired, a raucous celebration
unfolded in front of a sold-out crowd at the Brno Arena in the Czech Republic.
"This is a great group of women and I am so happy to be a part of this team,"
said Sales. The victory avenged Gambrinus´ defeat from last year when they lost
to Samara in the final. In a game that went back and forth in the second half,
Sales caught fire from the perimeter to carry Gambrinus. Her jumper with 1:45
remaining gave Gambrinus a 60-52 lead. Following a three-point misfire from
Svetlana Abrosimova (188-F-80, college:
Sales came down and hit another jumper to essentially ice the game and give her
team a 62-52 lead with 1:41 to go. For good measure, Sales hit another jumper to
set off an early celebration in Brno as Gambrinus led 64-52 with 1:18 remaining.
"The opportunity opened for me to step up and I took advantage," Sales said in
an on-court interview in the midst of jubilant fans.
"I am a veteran so I know what to do in these types of situations."
Sales (183-F/G-76, college:
is an explosive scorer, especially in tight situations," said Sales´ teammate
Milton-Jones (186-F-74, college:
who collected a team-high nine rebounds despite sitting out a good portion of
the first half with three fouls.
"I knew she would come up with a big performance. She had that look in her eye."
The native of Hartford, Connecticut scored all of her 16 points when it mattered
in the fourth quarter. "I have had better games in my life, but tonight was my
best performance in a game that was this important," she said. Sales opened the
fourth quarter by burying a pair of three-pointers that gave Gambrinus a
four-point advantage 52-48. "Sometimes you just need to make one shot to get
into a rythmn," she said.
Machova (182-F-79) tallied 14 points for Gambrinus and hit a clutch foul
line jumper with 2:31 to go in the game that allowed Gambrinus to open up a
six-point lead, 58-52. From there, Sales sealed the victory.
"Which ever team could go on the late run would win the game," Milton said.
Gambrinus got off to a blistering start in the first quarter, making nine of
their first 10 field goal attempts. It was the second consecutive game Gambrinus
got off to a fast start. In their semi-final victory over USVO on Friday,
Gambrinus scored the first 10 points of the game. A turnover by Samara and an
Viteckova (190-F-82) three from the corner with 3:52 to go in the first
quarter put the sold out crowd into a frenzy and gave Gambrinus a 20-6 lead.
With 2:29 to go in the first quarter, Milton picked up her third foul and Samara
subsequently went on a 14-5 run.
"I was heart-broken when I picked up that foul," Milton said.
"I wanted to come and play aggressive, but unfortunately I got called for two
quick ones early and then after that I could never get back in the rythmn of the
Viteckova led Gambrinus in the first quarter with nine points and finished with
12 for the game. After Milton picked up her third foul, Samara began to chip
away at the lead and trailed 25-16 after one quarter.
Lawson (167-G-79) scored seven straight points to get Samara within three at
25-22 to start the second.
Machova, who was getting a breather on the bench, re-entered the game and
Gambrinus scored the next six points to get Gambrinus back on track.
With Milton sitting on the bench for the whole second quarter, Gambrinus still
maintained a seven-point lead going into halftime, 38-31. Despite Samara´s
tremendous height on the frontline, Gambrinus out-rebounded Samara 20-6 in the
first half and 42-24 for the game.
"In big games, it comes down to executing and loose balls," said Milton.
"We wanted every loose ball and rebound and we did exactly that."
The third quarter was an all-out defensive struggle. Gambrinus connected on just
three field goals. Samara also struggled, but was able to cut the lead to two at
46-44 going into the fourth quarter. The game was one of the most intense and
physical women´s basketball contests in recent memory.
There is no statisic counts players´ diving for loose balls, but if there were,
the totals would have been significant.
"We knew it would be very intense, there would be lots of elbows, contact and
blood," said Milton.
"It´s part of the game," said Milton. Maria
Stepanova (202-C-79) led Samara with 15 points and
Wauters (194-C-80) chipped in with 10, six of which came at critical
junctures of the game midway in the fourth quarter. The win snapped
Gambrinus´run of five EuroLeague Women Final Fours without a title.
Euroleague All-Star Game 2006
Today starting a Year
of Women`s basketball. Opening ceremony was in Hungary. FIBA create
a loo, wich one will be present at all FIBA Europe competitions over
the next 18 months as part of the campaign to promote women's
basketball. Also big promotion was a game between Europe team
against Rest of the world. Russian star Maria Stepanova of BC
Volgaburmash Samara was presented with the first-ever FIBA Europe
Women's Player of the Year award during the EuroLeague Women
All-Star game in Pecs, Hungary. The 202-cm center was selected as
the 2005 Player of the Year based on a vote from international
Europe - Rest of the world 86:67 (19:18, 18:16, 28:14,
EUROPE (87): Godin 4, Le Drean 15, Palau 4, Streimikyte,
Ivanyi, Zara 6, Aguilar 6, Stepanova 18, Wauters 10, Valdemoro,
Bibrzycka 13, Viteckova 10 REST OF THE WORLD (67): De Forge 10, Johnson 2,
Hardy 6, Daley 18, Santos 3, Robinson, Milton 9, Douglas 4, Brunson
10, Burse 5
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