Bird, Taurasi Combine for Another Title; Parker Nabs EuroLeague MVP Honor
The 2012-13 EuroLeague season ended as many people expected it would, with the incredibly talented UMMC Ekaterinburg taking the title. With a roster filled with U.S. stars Sue Bird, Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi, along with Russian giants such as Olga Arteshina and Maria Stepanova, Anete Jekabsone of Latvia, France’s Sandrine Gruda and Poland’s Ewelina Kobryn, Ekat was penned in as the winners before the season even started.
UMMC nearly ran the table during the season, dropping just one game, a 65-57 loss to Perfumerias Avenida in Salamanca on January 30. The closest game of the Final Eight came against Nneka Ogwumike and CCC Polkowice in the opening contest. But even that wasn’t very close: 68-45 was the final.
Meeting up with Fenerbache, which features Angel McCoughtry and Cappie Pondexter, in the championship game, Ekat raced to an 8-0 lead and following a Fener basket at 7:00 in the first quarter, compiled a 9-0 spurt to go up 17-2 with 4:43 left in the stanza. That set the tone for the game, which was won 82-56 by the Final Eight hosts.
Parker, who tallied 24 points and 11 rebounds in the championship game and averaged 16.9 points and 10.4 rebounds during the season, earned MVP honors. This was the first EuroLeague crown for two-time Olympic gold medalist Parker, who also has a pair of NCAA titles to her name.
The win also marked the fifth EuroLeague title as teammates for Bird and Taurasi, who have captured three Olympic gold medals, the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2002 NCAA crown as teammates. (NOTE: While Bird was unable to play in the Final Eight due to EuroLeague rules regarding non-Euro players, she did compete in three of Ekat’s EuroLeague games this season and was presented with a championship medal.)
Bourges Basket overtook Good Angels Kosice 65-57 in the consolation game.
While her team didn't make it to the Final Eight, Tina Charles finished as the top scorer and rebounder of the season with averages of 24.0 ppg. and 12.5 rpg. She also led the League in field goals made (10.1 per game) and double-doubles (10).
Post-game comments, including from Diana Taurasi
Top 5 Plays from the Final Day