The team approach the first EuroLeague home almost having the complete roster. Earlier Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner came to Ekaterinburg. Deanna Nolan is still having muscular injury. However, during the post-game press conference UMMC Head Coach Olaf Lange announced that Deana was ready to join the team on the next Premier-League match. He also mentioned that Brittney Griner did not have a single training with the team; nevertheless, she scored the first basket of the new season.
Since the first game seconds, Griner marked the double-digit advantage by UMMC. The only thing her teammate had to do was providing the center with precise assists in the opponent’s paint. Having the game in her hands, Griner felt completely comfortable both scoring points and helping the opponent to increase the number of personal fouls. By the end of the first period, she collected 10 points. By the end of the game, she harvested 18 points and 5 assists. Eventually, the guests could not stand the «orange» machine pressure in the 3-second zone.
However, it was not an easy-walk game for Olaf Lange’s team. Wisla had its own joker and enacted an experienced Maurita Reid. Reid showed big performance in offense that allowed the Vice-Champion of Poland to cut the score difference and take the visiting side forward. It turned into an irritating factor for our bench. Elena Beglova and Olga Arteshina coming out on court enhanced the home side positions. Evgenia Belyakova and LaToya Sanders added fire in offense and took UMMC back to the leading positions – 21:17.
«Foxes» started the second period close to flawless enhancing the defensive game - 31:17, thus let Krzystof Szewczyk’s team to score the first points on the middle of the quarter. However, later home side suffered a series of losses and the opponents were fast to use this opportunity. Sonja Greinacher collected 5 points in a row, while Dominika Owczarzak made a precise jump shot – 33:28. Both coaches once again got down rotating the rosters looking for the best combination. Lange found the perfect formula. Emma Meesseman and Nika Baric successfully finished all home side initiatives. Our team left the court with 7-point advantage - 39:32.
After the break, the Foxes tried to press the success. UMMC Captain Diana Taurasi finally decided to open her personal record and collected 7 points in the third period. The «red» squad was not going to wave the white flag and focused on pick-n-rolls and defense. Eventually Rodriguez-Reid-Parker trio evened the chances - 48:48. Foxes rolled up the sleeves and proved that they run the show in Ekaterinburg. Little by little, Arteshina, Beglova and Sanders added digits on the UMMC side of the scoreboard, while Belyakova underlined the final result from the arc – 60:52.
In the final period, the last glimpse of intrigue finally disappeared. Indomitable Maurita Reid tried to overcome all her records of efficiency, but UMMC answered with perfect performance by Alba Torrens. UMMC celebrated the first home EuroLeague group round victory – 79:68.
Wisla Can-Pack Head Coach Krzystof Szewczyk:
- Once again, we saw how strong UMMC is. We want to be a defensive team and play a defensive kind of game; however, we missed too many points. We put our heart and effort, but tonight it was not enough. We did not actually give up. In the second half UMMC made over 10 shots from under the hoop that made the difference.
UMMC player Brittney Griner:
- It is good to be back. Glad that the whole team came together. For the first time it was a good game. We scored some great shots. Now we know what to work on. I am excited to be back, glad to meet everybody. We have some new players, so I am excited about the season.
UMMC Head Coach Olaf Lange:
- Taking into account the first time, we showed a solid game, but definitely our pick and roll defense was not very good, so we must get back to work. Collectively we are not good yet, but we are getting there. We did not have an opportunity to have a team training. Nevertheless, it was a good game. I would also like to say few words about other players. Elena Beglova who helped us a lot in defense, Olga Arteshina came out straight from the bench and was effective in defense, LaToya Sanders worked hard on both offensive and defensive sides all of them made the game work today.
Foxes are having the next EuroLeague match on October 18 on the road competing against local Avenida in Spain. Meanwhile our team is having the next Russian Premier-League game in Ekaterinburg on October 15 against Kazanochka. The match starts at 17.00.