Ros Casares of Spain won the Euroleague Women Final Eight in Istanbul, as they beat a gutsy Rivas Ecopolis side 65-52.
This was the Valencia club’s first title and they did it by holding their fellow Spanish opponents to just 15 second half points, including four in the final period.
Sancho Lyttle led the victors with 18 points with Asjha Jones spearheading Rivas with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Until the second half, this was a closely contested contest with Rivas looking to continue their fiarytale run to the final, which included a semi-final victory over previously unbeaten Fenerbahce.
Ros threatened to run away with the game from the start though, they led 12-6 thanks to Ann Wauters and they set the tempo of the contest as their Madrid opponents looked like a team that hadn’t really got off the team bus.
But, Rivas stormed back and through Jones, they tied the game at 20 to end the first quarter as Ros couldn’t contain her aggressive, yet smart approach. The first quarter buzzer was a great relief for Ros Casares’ coach Roberto Iniguez, who saw his side finish second best towards the last two minutes of the opening period.
The second quarter saw both sides trade buckets and with the game still tied at 28, even with their playmaker Jones on the bench in foul trouble, veteran Elisa Aguilar picked it up as she began a 6-0 run for Rivas as they took a 34-28 lead and despite the best efforts from the Valencian team, they trailed to the underdogs at half-time 37-33.
Unfortunately for Rivas though, they were hit by an improved defensive wall that would be in place throughout the second half. Ros were relentless off the ball and they forced turnovers, as well as contesting near enough every shot that their Madrid counterparts put up. Lyttle hit six points in an 8-0 Casares run which put them up 51-48.
Jones though responded for Rivas as they trailed 51-48 going to the final quarter.
Rivas though only hit one more field goal with the other two points coming from the foul line as the Ros Casares players and coaches celebrated a first Euroleague Women title.