ISTANBUL (EuroLeague Women) - Montenegro national team forward Jelena Dubljevic was the star for Galatasaray as they won a double overtime thriller against Kursk to keep their Euroleague Women Play Off hopes alive.
The 1.88m forward poured in 25 points and 8 rebounds in the latest twist and turn of what has been the ultimate roller-coaster season for the defending champions as they claimed an absorbing and memorable 91-87 success in Istanbul.
Not surprisingly the sense of relief shown by Galatasaray head coach Ekrem Memnun was palpable after his team denied Kursk the leadership of Group A and most importantly of all, avoided slumping to a potentially season ending 2-7 record.
"First of all, we are happy for the victory," smiled Memnun after the epic encounter.
"We have lost a couple of games this year in the last possessions, however this time we won.
"We are still in the competition and we still have a chance. This was a very important game because we want to qualify.
"Our rival was a very good team who pounced on our mistakes.
"We have a chance if we now learn to commit fewer of those mistakes."
Galatasaray were almost punished by Kursk forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike, whose incredible season continued - despite the loss.
The 24-year-old who helped the USA successfully defend their world title at last summer's FIBA Women's World Championship, scooped another weekly 'Top Performer' award after scoring 30 points - on an astonishing 13 of 15 shooting display - to go along with 12 rebounds.
The other big winners were Wisla Can-Pack, who rejuvenated their chances of a top-four finish with an exceptional 86-72 victory against highly-fancied ZVVZ USK Prague. WNBA duo Allie Quigley and Jantel Lavender combined for 44 points to provide a huge boost for the Krakow club.
Meanwhile, Jenna O'Hea led Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration (BLMA) to a hard fought 65-60 home success against Good Angels Kosice, with the Australia Opals player scoring a team-high 14 points to keep the French club in serious contention for the post-season.
In Group B, Fenerbahce made it nine wins in 10 games after strolling past Energa Torun, 81-67.
France international Isabelle Yacoubou went for 21 points and 10 rebounds to help Beretta Famila Schio secure consecutive victories as they romped to an 83-68 triumph at BK Imos Brno.
CB Avenida returned to winning ways by defeating Agu Spor Kulubu 71-64 in Salamanca, behind 16 points from veteran Spain guard Marta Fernandez.
Tango Bourges also bounced back with a great defensive display against Nadezhda to ride out 58-50 winners.
With no joy on their travels this season, Bourges head coach Valerie Garnier admitted her players had little option but to continue their fine form at home.
She said: "It was one of the biggest games of the season so the team had a lot of pressure in the beginning, but they had such a great reaction during the second quarter.
"This year we have not been able to win outside of France, so we have to maintain a perfect record at home."
Great Britain guard Johannah Leedham led the victorious hosts with 15 points and 10 rebounds, as they extended their home floor winning streak to 11 games in the competition.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images