Since the beginning of the season, UMMC marches down the domestic regular championship campaign facing no defeats and the team from Vidnoje was not strong enough to interfere the flawless series. Frankly speaking, the guest from Vidnoje were pretty much aware of the highly possible outcome and harbored no illusions thus both sides worked to solve different goals. Since the first seconds, UMMC acted in defense mode. Brittney Griner, Jonquel Jones, Maria Vadeeva and Raisa Musina carefully guarded all approaches to the «orange» side hoop. Meanwhile Evgeniia Belyakova and Kayla McBride stayed alert and ready to break in the fast run at the earliest opportunity. Foxes forced the rivals out of their «paint» leaving the only opportunity for the opponent to try the luck from behind the arch. The «red-black» collected half of the points shooting from this position. The «orange» on the other hand kept on missing the shots from downtown. Only by the middle of the second quarter, UMMC center Maria Vadeeva was precise enough to break the spell by pouring down the opposite the first triple. The team game brought its results and by the time of the interval, the hosts almost doubled its advantage - 43:25.
In the second half, the situation did not change. Ekaterinburg accelerated the pace with a powerful run and won the third period with triple-size score advantage – 29:9. Vidnoje had a hard time standing the pressure generated by the champion along the game. In spite of it, Sparta&K proved that they were a hard nut to crack. In the last quarter, Miguel Mendez’s team felt on ease and the hosts used that opportunity to strike back and compete on equal terms with the Champion – 15:14. Nevertheless, the massive gulf remained too wide with the final buzzer registering 87:48 with UMMC celebrating one more win.
UMMC center players showed inspiring results. Maria Vadeeva harvested 18 points and 6 rebounds, Brittney Griner collected 17 points and 8 rebounds, Jonquel Jones ended the match with 16 points and 6 rebounds. UMMC Captain Evgeniia Belyakova harvested 13 points, 8 assists and 2 block shots.
Daria Kurilchuk worked hard for Sparta&K and got 11 points, followed by Jennifer O’Neil who ended up with 11 points.
UMMC guard Evgeniia Belyakova:
- It is always complicated to come out on court after defeat. We used the game tonight to come back on track, capture the pace and feel each other’s rhythm in order to restore confidence. Well once again, not everything was perfect in offense, but this time we tried something new in defense.
- It seemed like in the fourth quarter the team faced some kind of trouble. Is it true?
- In the last quarter, we wanted to show nice and easy-going game. Frankly speaking, at that moment we gave up following any plans. This period was not the best example to be analyzed. It is not good to make any conclusions.
UMMC Head Coach Miguel Mendez:
- It was not easy for us to play his game in the beginning because we were disappointed about our first loss in the season. However, I can see very good attitude of the players, good attitude during the whole game and step by step we recovered our confidence in the offense. There was a big difference between the first half and the second half. I am happy with my players tonight and sure that we will be ready before the next game.
- Was the game tonight more important in terms of getting ready for the match on Wednesday or it was more important to overcome the consequences of the last game in Prague?
- Both of it I think. It is very important to get ready for the next game. We respect a lot all our Premier league opponents and the one we met tonight. They are a good team, they did a great job with young players and we respect it a lot. However, it is also true that it is important to recover, because for is it is always a problem for our confidence, our chemistry, for everything. We need to recover basketball feeling. For sure, the next two games in the EuroLeague, the games against Bourges and Schio are important games for us. It will be hard games and we need to keep our position in the EuroLeague and to improve our level. The season is very long and we have one battle every three days. We have to win the war. It will take place in April. We have to ready in April. Of course, we have a war to win and it means we must win every battle. However, our first goal is to win the last game in April.
- Fans say that they miss Alba Torrens on court in Prague. Is she going to play on Wednesday?
- We will see. She has started to practice with us and I do not know at which level she will play, but I hope that she will be ready to help us.
UMMC is having the next EuroLeague Women group round game on February 6 in Ekaterinburg competing against the French Bourges Basket. The match starts at 19.00.