MOSCOW (EuroLeague Women) - Week one of the 2008 EuroLeague Women had a distinctly Russian feel to it as CSKA Moscow, UMMC Ekaterinburg, Spartak Moscow Region and Dynamo Moscow all opened with wins.
Defending champions Spartak were forced to work for their two points as Kosit Kosice 2013 pushed them all the way before the Russian team prevailed 62-60.
It was nip and tuck all the way, with the scores level at 50-50 going into the final quarter.
But Kosit`s Alena Kovacova fouled out with five minutes remaining and Janel McCarville missed a lay-up in the dying seconds that would have taken the game into overtime.
Ivana Matovic poured in 23 points and pulled down 15 rebounds for the defending champions.
The 2007 EuroCup Women champions Dynamo found life far easier with a 77-48 demolition of MiZo Pecs 2010 in Moscow.
Anete Jekabsone-Zogota was on form with 28 points, while Latvian international teammate Ieva Kublina pulled down 12 rebounds.
Dynamo are also coached by the colorful Latvia national team boss, Ainars Zvirgzdins.
Ekaterinburg produced an even more emphatic performance, seeing off ZVVZ USK Prague 85-43 thanks to 21 points from Polish forward Agnieszka Bibrzycka, while CSKA Moscow beat TTT Riga 82-56.
Bibrzycka was a part of Spartak's all-conquering side last year.
CSKA - they have moved from Samara to Moscow - top Group A ahead of France`s ESB Lille Metropole, who saw off Hungarian visitors MKB Euroleasing 87-67.
Geraldine Robert bagged 22 points and seven rebounds, while Shala Crawford claimed 21 points.
Fenerbahce, behind a 26-point effort from EuroLeague Women All-Star Cappie Pondexter, secured an 85-79 win over Phard Napoli and are third.
Ekaterinburg lead Group B ahead of Bourges Basket, who claimed an 89-72 triumph over Jolly JBS Sibenik and Poland`s Wisla Can-Pack Krakow, who saw off Halcon Avenida 76-71 in Spain.
Belgian giants Dexia Namur head group C after beating US Valenciennes Olympic of France 75-57 with the help of 15 points from Catherine Kraayeveld and 12 from Jennifer Fleischer, who also corralled 19 rebounds.
Gambrinus Sika Brno of the Czech Republic beat Poland`s Lotos PKO BP Gdynia 85-72 and lie second, ahead of Spartak.
Ros Casares Valencia of Spain are second in Group D behind Dynamo thanks to a 71-52 win over Germano Zama Faenza.
TEO Vilnius edged out USO Mondeville Basket 75-70 and are third.
photos Janos Schmidt