By Paul Nilsen
|Nora Nagy-Bujdoso and Uni Seat Györ are getting ready for a second consecutive EuroLeague Women campaign|
With the experience of a debut EuroLeague Women season under the belt, Uni Gyor can try to build and improve on their first outing in the competition.
In essence, that would mean improving on the three wins and eleven losses which summarised a season of not exactly struggle in the tournament, but perhaps realism which affects many new clubs stepping up to the elite level.
Domestically, it was a magnificent finale for Ákos Füzy and his team who won a thrilling Hungarian play-off finals showdown with Uniqa Euroleasing Sopron, eventually defeating the defending champions in the last seconds of an epic five game series.
Of last year's team, they have lost their main thrusts at each end of the court in point guard Iva Ciglar who has moved to the French League with Perpignan, and also their reference player inside, Quanitra Hollingsworth, who is now with the mighty UMMC Ekaterinburg.
Under the basket, the club has swooped to sign Chalysa Shegog, who is familiar to fans of College Basketball and more latterly, WNBA basketball where she played briefly for the Connecticut Sun.
In what is her rookie season on the European side of the Atlantic, she can't be expected to be a direct replacement for Hollingsworth in terms of production, although she will no doubt pose a threat.
Besides, Latvian centre Ieva Kublina has been brought back to Gyor after one year of absence. She played for the club in 2010/11 in the EuroCup Women, where she posted strong numbers and her experience and production together with Shegog should be enough to keep Gyor competitive in the paint.
Expected to direct traffic from the backcourt is Australian newcomer Natalie Hurst who will step out in a European club competition for the first time. Having played in France with Aix-en-Provence, the playmaker has moved to seize the opportunity to play at the elite level which she hopes will boost her prospects with the Australian national team.
"I know that if I ever want to make a World Championship or an Olympic Games for Australia, I need European experience so that is why I came overseas.
"I am really looking forward to the EuroLeague Women since it is the competition that I have always wanted to play in," continued the guard.
"It has the best of the best when it comes to players and that's exactly who I need to be playing against if I want to take my game to the next level.
"We have a good group of hard working girls, so I expect us to compete in every game very well and improve within ourselves each and every week."
Zsofia Simon will be pushing again for a starting place with the 22 year old continuing to mature for both club and country. She managed to get some nice minutes from Stefan Svitek for the national team during the summer and with a great eye for a pass and a willingness to do the dirty work, this versatile player should definitely be a real asset.
Also remaining from last year's team is the dynamic Rita Rasheed who was something of a revelation
|Zsófia Simon has made the Hungarian senior national team this summer, an experience she will most probably profit from when donning the Uni Seat Györ vest|
in last year's competition and also Nora Nagy-Bujdoso. This forward duo can both get points on the board and grab plenty of precious rebounds. The former is happy on the wing where she poses a perimeter threat whilst the latter is able to clean up on the glass.
Meanwhile Anna Lakloth, Gyorgyi Ori and Barbara Semsei are all important role players for the team and will provide valuable minutes off the bench. Watch out too for young prospects Dora Nagy and Agnes Dobos who have performed well for the junior national teams in recent months.
Uni Gyor should be competitive but may struggle in a strong group to make the play-offs as was the case last year. More of the same would not necessarily be a failure as such, since trying to match or improve on their record last year is probably the first aim.
It will be tough and Brno probably give them their best chance of success. Like many other underdogs who don't quite have the same level of depth as their rivals, they must maximise home advantage at all times to give themselves the best chance of posting a decent campaign.