An extraordinary Valencia Basket, fierce and intelligent in defense and brave and inspired in attack, overthrew UMMC Yekaterinburg, the great dominator of continental basketball in recent years, and was crowned champion of the European Super Cup in a dedicated Fonteta that saw theirs to add the third title in their history in the tournament that pits the winner of the Euro Cup against the Euroleague.
Guided by Cristina Ouviña, with Rebecca Allen and Raquel Carreras brilliant in the finish but, above all, with an enormous collective work in defense, the Valencian team surprised a rival who, despite some casualties, was the undoubted favorite and maintains the best continent template.
Valencia could not stop the Russian scoring stream at the start but managed, against the odds, not only to hold that pulse but, commanded by an inspired Allen, to dominate it at times (16-14, m.7). Being at the height of the Russian super team gave the locals the confidence to start improving their defense. A career stopper to Brittney Griner, a newcomer to Europe after being the top scorer in the WBNA final, gave wings to the dream.
The local defensive aggressiveness, both in the front row and the anticipation of the interiors, allowed him to score in transition after stealing several balls and taking his advantage to six points. The Russian team fed Jonquel Jones, their only valid offensive reference, he rolled up his sleeves in defense so that he did not miss the game but Valencia did not get nervous despite having some attacks without scoring and a couple of open shots from Marie Gülich and another of Allen they returned the lost mattress and even took it further (35-27, m.17). The Valencian team was long at the end of the first half but the push from La Fonteta, with almost four thousand spectators, and a triple final on Allen’s horn reinforced their options.
The rest renewed the local forces that, with the same weapons, brought their income to ten points and forced Miguel Méndez, coach of the Russian team, to stop the game when just 100 seconds had elapsed (44-34, m.22) . The anger of the new Spanish coach paid off and Alexandria Bentley stepped on the accelerator, kept Jones plugged in, woke up Griner and the shock settled.
Three triples, two from Ouviña and another from Carrera, gave air to Valencia, which took advantage of the momentum to achieve new robberies and, with a couple of actions from Queralt Casas, the local advantage passed for the first time of 11 points and allowed Valencia reach the last quarter with a promising advantage (58-51, m.30).
Alba Torrens kept Yekaterinburg in the worst moments and a triple of hers tied the game and made good the defensive improvement of the Russian team. But Valencia did not collapse and Leticia Romero, Allen and Carrera took away his fears. A cerebral Ouviña resumed command and her ninth assist enabled Carrera to score the basket that triggered the euphoria of La Fonteta, who began to celebrate what was the third title of her women’s team in just seven months but the first she achieved against his hobby.
Valencia Basket, 75 – UMMC Yekaterinburg, 68
Valencia Basket (20 + 20 + 18 + 17): Ouviña (11), Casas (6), Allen (18), Gil (11), Gülich (6) -five starters- Segura (2), Salvadores (2), Romero ( 4), Carrera (14) and and Trahan-Davis (1).
UMMC Yekaterinburg (18 + 16 + 17 + 17): Bentley (11), Shilova (4), Torrens (15), Meesseman (6), Jones (20) -five starters- Zavialova (4), Beliakova (-), Griner ( 4) and Vadeeva (4).
Referees: Györgyi (NOR), Aunkrogers (LET) and Tóth (HUN). Without eliminated.
Fountain of San Luis de València. 3,812 spectators.
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