A week after becoming the last addition to the 2009-10 Euroleague field, Wisla Can-Pack Krakow wasted no time in making noise. Janell Burse’s squad went on the road to defeat one of last year’s Final Four teams, Halcon Avenida. Adding intrigue to the matchup was the fact that Wisla Head Coach Jose Hernandez was facing his old team, having left Avenida fover the winter.
After Wisla took the lead in the second quarter, the game was tight throughout. It was a one-possession difference with 31 seconds left when Burse’s putback made the difference five points and forced Avenida to foul on the final Wisla possession. Two Liron Cohen free throws provided the final 65-60 margin. Burse played 37 minutes, tied with teammate Marta Fernandez for a team high, and finished with a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds (second most of any Euroleague player on opening day). Burse added four blocked shots in the win.
Elsewhere, Spartak Moscow Region got off to a winning start in Euroleague without Storm stars Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson. Getting 27 points from Diana Taurasi and a double-double from Sylvia Fowles, Spartak crushed Frisco Sika Brno 95-71 at home.
It was a tough loss on Monday for Maccabi Ashdod, which led talented Electra Ramat Hasharon much of the night before surrendering a comeback and losing 76-73. Ashley Walker had a game-high 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting (including a pair of threes) and nine boards, while Courtney Paris put up 19 points and 19 rebounds, but Maccabi lost its other American import, former UTEP guard Natasha Lacy, to a fractured wrist. Lacy’s absence in the second half helped open the door for a comeback.