Samara Beats WNBA in Women's World Cup

SAMARA, Central Russia -- Maria Stepanova scored 17 points as Volgaburmash SGAU Samara edged the WNBA Select team 72-68 Sunday in the final of the inaugural women's basketball World Cup.

In the match for third place, European champion UMMC Yekaterinburg of Russia prevailed in the final minutes to beat French champion US Valenciennes Olympic 70-64.

Samara, supported by a sellout home crowd of 3,200, had a 21-point lead midway through the third quarter.

But the Americans caught fire and fought back to 66-66 with 1:17 to go. However, Samara retook the lead for good by making six free throws.

Stepanova had 16 of her tournament-best 68 rebounds in the final, and Mwadi Mabika added 16 points and and six rebounds.

The WNBA's Nikki Teasley scored a game-high 21 points, and Cheryl Ford added 15.

It was the WNBA team's second loss to a Russian team in the event. It lost to UMMC in the round-robin.

Olympic led for most of the third-place match.

But Anna Arkhipova and Sheryl Swoopes each hit three-pointers to put UMMC ahead 50-42 with two minutes left in the third quarter. The lead swapped several times before Natalie Williams and Swoopes gained a four-point lead for UMMC with 1:21 left.

Edwige Lawson narrowed the lead to 66-64, and Olympic was four-on-one at UMMC's backboard, but failed to hit the basket with 50 seconds left in regulation.

Svetlana Abrosimova then converted two free throws, and Irina Osipova nailed the victory in the fading seconds.

Williams scored 18 points and had 11 rebounds for UMMC. Allison Feaster scored 14 points, and Suzy Batkovic added 12 and had six rebounds for Olympic.