The unstoppable SpartaK women’s basketball progress to the last eight of the Euroleague for the seventh time in a row. The Moscow region side made it by thrashing Nadezhda Orenburg, 82-97 in the last of three hard-fought matches.
SpartaK were up against it, after being beaten by Nadezhda 93-79 away in Orenburg. That set up a do or die battle in the third game decider for a place in the final 8.
SpartaK took total control from the start and had a nine-point lead by the end of the opening quarter, with Seimone Augustus and Becky Hammon pouring in the points.
However, the hosts felt overconfident too early. Nadezhda managed to get back into the game and levelled matters with five minutes to go in the second.
Elena Danilochkina of Russia and American Rebekkah Brunson were leading the Orenburg side.
The see-saw game continued in the third as the four times Euroleague champions pushed further ahead, but the visitors came from behind.
However, in the decisive quarter SpartaK took the lead and never looked back.
The 27 year-old Olympic champion, Augustus, had another match to remember proving her phenomenal form by netting more than 20 points for a third straight game, while Hammon and Candice Dupree also hit double digits with 16 apiece.
And Nadezhda saw their hopes of travelling to the finals in Istanbul vanish with a 2-1 defeat in the best-of-three series.
“Our opponents have a solid roster and good coaches,” Evgenia Belyakovs, SpartaK guard, said. “They prepared properly for our encounter. So it was a tight game. We desperatly needed this victory and we deserved this win.”
With this win SpartaK punched their ticket for the Euroleague quarter finals and will be keen to add a fifth Euro title in Istanbul, which gets going on March 28.