|31 October 2013|
|Despite a Lithuanian-laden roster, Mante Kvederaviciute was the only Kibirkstis-Vici Vilnius representative at EuroBasket Women 2013|
We take a look at the EuroLeague Women prospects of the Lithuanian champions Kibirkstis-Vici Vilnius who make the step up from EuroCup Women.
Last Season: In a shortened three-team EuroCup Women group where every team finished with a 2-2 record, they were agonisingly edged out during the Qualification Round in a three-way tie with Antakya Belediyesi and MBK Ruzomberok.
Significant Summer Departures: American duo Tertrina Daniels and Celeste Trahan, along with Lithuanian national team vet Kristina Vengryte.
Roster Review: With an overwhelming Lithuanian flavour, it is perhaps surprising that only Mante Kvederaviciute represented the Lithuanian national team at EuroBasket Women. Indeed the guard was actually one of the top performers and shot the ball brilliantly. She will be joined by veteran Rima Valentiene, who has seen plenty of national team action down the years and will be a rock for the team. Latvian shooter Ieva Krastina got to tread the hardwood in France with her own nation and she should add a new dimension to the team, whilst Greta Sniokaite will be looking to push on in her own development. The driving force is likely to be Drexel graduate Hollie Mershon, who comes with a strong reputation and will be hoping to make a successful transition into the pro-game. Sofija Aleksandravicius also comes out of the NCAA, having played for Davidson and will operate in the paint. She will look to press the likes of Lina Pikciute and Vita Kuktiene for court time. The latter averaged double-digits two years ago in EuroLeague Women with VICI Aistes and so will be one of the leaders for sure. The legendary Jurgita Streimikyte-Virbickiene will hold the coaching reins after switching roles with former head coach and now assistant Tadas Stankevicius.
Headline Stealer: Hollie Mershon had a college career which soared and eventually reached a glorious pinnacle, winning a Championship with Drexel during her senior year. Her game and numbers have all incrementally improved in the last four years and her combined scoring ability and fantastic versatility means she is a really important player. An adjustment period is inevitable, but if she settles, she could really come alive and make a big noise.
Sliding Onto The Radar: Greta Sniokaite averaged double-figures during qualification for EuroBasket Women 2013, less than 18 months ago - albeit having played only a couple of games. She could be the one player to re-emerge if she gets the opportunity and could make up for the disappointment of not making the roster for Final Round in France. She has a good basketball IQ, can get to the line on a regular basis, but now needs to do the business at this level.
Scanning The Schedule: Group C presents a reasonable chance of claiming some memorable scalps and at least the newcomers are not hindered by any mean streak of road trips for example. They will face Perfumerias Avenida, ZVVZ USK Prague, CCC Polkowice, WBC Novi Zagreb, Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje and Galatasaray odeabank.
‘Twittertastic': The nicely named @hollieRancher along with fellow new arrival @krastina_ieva and also @Pikce.
In Just Ten Words: Difficult task ahead, but chemistry and hard work means hope.