Spartak’s 70-62 win over Famila Schio Wednesday isn’t one the team will look back on as a highlight, not after struggling to put away a Schio team with just a single Euroleague win and scored but eight points in the fourth quarter. However, there was a highlight. The big story from the game was Spartak center Sylvia Fowles dunking in transition during the second quarter, her first dunk as a professional (and a likely portent of what’s to come stateside). WNBA.com has the grainy, Zapruder-esque video:
From the Storm’s perspective, the bigger news is that Lauren Jackson got her first start since ankle surgery (I can’t remember her starting previously) and played a robust 28 minutes, scoring 14 points and grabbing eight boards. Sue Bird nearly went the distance, playing 39 minutes, and scored five points with seven rebounds (how about Sue scrapping in the paint?) and three assists.
Spartak also got good news when TEO Vilnius lost at Fenerbahce, meaning at 5-1 Spartak is now all alone atop Group 2.
In the Storm’s other Euroleague game, ZVVZ USK Praha broke out in a big way by blowing out Union Hainaut Basket 83-58. The victory improves USK Praha to 2-4 and moves the team into a four-way tie for third place in Group C. Swin Cash led USK Praha with a huge game, scoring 27 points on 12-of-21 shooting and pulling down eight rebounds with four steals as well. Cash played the full 40 minutes. Lindsay Whalen chipped in 20 points and eight boards, making all eight of her two-point attempts.
Turning our attention to the EuroCup, I think Dynamo Moscow is about ready to move on from group play. There’s simply no compeition for Dynamo in Group A. Earlier today, they defeated MBK 88-41, outscoring the opposition 25-3 in the fourth quarter. Janell Burse, with 10 points and six boards, was one of six Dynamo players to score double-figures.
Athinaikos hasn’t had quite an easy time of it, but the Greek side too is 5-0 in group play after defeating Ragusa 81-61 yesterday. Our resident overseas blogger Katie Gearlds led the way in this victory by shooting the lights out, scoring 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including a pair of threes. A commenter asked about Gearlds’ season stats, and she’s now averaging 15.6 points in EuroCup group play while shooting 54.7 percent from the field and a cool 51.9 percent from beyond the arc. While looking at her stats, I also noticed that Gearlds is listed as a forward/center by the FIBA Europe Web site. Can this possibly be true? We’ll have to find out in the next blog.
In Group F, K.V. Imperial AEL improved to 3-2 with a 71-59 home win over Gran Canaria. As usual, Shyra Ely dominated the paint for Imperial, making 10 free throws in 12 attempts. She finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes.
Lastly, Tarbes Bigorre Elite continues to master the art of wriggling off the hook. The latest Tarbes win, by a 56-51 final over Extrugasa, saw the team score just eight points in the fourth quarter and overcome 23 turnovers. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a team win so consistently by so few points. Anyways, Tanisha Wright was held in check by the Extrugasa defense, a big reason the game was so close. Wright got off just six shot attempts, scoring nine points with four assists. Still, Tarbes remains unbeaten in both league and EuroCup play.