BRNO (EuroLeague Women) - Spartak Moscow Region held on to beat hosts Gambrinus Brno on Sunday to win the EuroLeague Women title for a second straight season.
Australia’s Lauren Jackson, who will lead her country at the Beijing Olympics later this summer, had 18 points and 12 boards to lead Spartak to a 75-60 triumph.
Jackson had 35 in Spartak’s semi-final success against Ekaterinburg and was named Final Four MVP.
USA international Tina Thompson had 12 points and eight rebounds and was named to the all-tournament team with Jackson.
“We’re so excited, we’ve worked so hard all year for this,” Thompson said.
Spartak coach Natalia Hejkova led a team to back-to-back EuroLeague titles for the second time in her career.
She also accomplished the feat in 1999 and 2000 as the boss of SCP Ruzomberok.
Zuzana Zirkova, who had 28 points in Friday’s overtime win against Bourges, finished with a team-high 16.
Spartak looked as if they were going to blow out Gambrinus when they stretched a 43-27 half-time advantage to 58-33 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Gambrinus managed to close the gap to seven on two occasions late in the fourth quarter, but got no closer.
Their coach Jan Bobrovsky, who is also the coach of the Czech national team that will attempt to win a spot at the Beijing Games via the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Madrid in June, said: “The atmosphere was fantastic.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this in my country.
“I’m not disappointed with the result. I’m only disappointed with the way we played for a big part of the game.”
Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, who like Thompson will represent the United States at the Olympics this summer when they face Jackson and Australia, had 14 points apiece.
In the third-place game, Ekaterinburg beat Bourges 70-69 after a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Caroline Aubert. FIBA