Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spartak Forces Game 3

Staring down potential early elimination from the Russian Superleague Playoffs, Spartak came through with a sizzling offensive performance Wednesday to force a deciding Game 3 on Saturday. Spartak shot 57.4 percent from the field in a 101-80 road win over CSKA Moscow. The game was tight at halftime, with Spartak leading by one point, but they owned the second half 55-35.

Diana Taurasi powered the offensive explosion with 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting. Lauren Jackson added 20 while hitting nine of 15 shots, and Tatiana Schegoleva chipped in 18. Sue Bird finished with 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. Ann Wauters, who scored 26 and grabbed 12 rebounds, was the primary offensive threat for CSKA.

The teams will be back in Vidnoe for a winner-take-all Game 3 on Saturday. The victor will face UMMC Ekaterinburg, which completed a two-game sweep of Dynamo Moscow with Wednesday's 71-62 road triumph. Dynamo led by as many as 14 in the first half after holding Ekaterinburg to seven first-quarter points, but again the game turned after halftime, Ekaterinburg outscoring Dynamo 45-27 to win going away.

Janell Burse had 11 points and seven rebounds for Dynamo in the loss. She and go-to players Anete Jekabsone-Zogota, Marina Kuzina and Belinda Snell combined for 53 of Dynamo's 62 points as the supporting cast failed to offer much scoring. By contrast, Ekaterinburg had seven players score at least six points, led by 16 and 12 boards from Sandrine Gruda.

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