Sviatlana Volnaya: Getting Ready For EuroBasket Women

27.07.2007

Sviatlana Volnaya (ZVVZ USK Prague)

USK Prague's Sviatlana Volnaya has averaged double-digit scoring in each of the last five EuroLeague Women campaigns. This past summer, Volnaya  averaged over 11 points per game (team best) to lead Belarus to a EuroBasket 2007 berth. She will share her thoughts in a fibaeurope.com blog

I'm very happy that we made it to EuroBasket last year. It was very exiting for all of us - you could not understand what was going on in the locker room after we had our final game last year against Greece at home. Champagne and cake everywhere! 

Some of the veteran players of the national team came to congratulate us to the locker room. Everyone was very happy, it was big for us to make it to the next level of the European Championship.

So this year I'm sure everyone on our team is looking forward to September. All of my teammates and of course our coaches believe that we can go far and surprise many people. When I talked to our head coach last week he was very positive and said that he believes in our team and that we can win it all. Our head coaches name is Anatolii Sergeevich Buyal"skii and he has a good experience coaching. Last season he coached Russian Novosibirsk and three players from our national team were playing on that team, so its already a good, solid foundation to our national team. Over all our national team consists of players that had an experience playing on the good international level. Some of our players played in Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Israel, Lithuania and WNBA.

Personally I think that our team has one little minus: we do not have that many chances to practice together. All we have may be one month out of all whole year. Some national teams practice with each other almost throughout the whole year. The Czech national team is proof to that as all of us know that they won the last European Championship.

This year we already had our first get together in June. It was created more or less to see how is every ones health is and in what shape players came back after the season. We will have our next camp in August. We also have scheduled games in Greece and Czech Republic. It should be exciting and I will keep you all posted.......


23.04.2007

My season is almost over with. We are playing Brno in the finals right now. We lost our first game to them, but we are not giving up. Brno is a good team but we definitely have chance to beat them.

We have done it once this year and when that happened our team received a boost of confidence. The girls started to believe in themselves and realise that beating Brno was possible.

I think as a team we have a little plus, because we do not have anything to lose in this situation. Brno might be a little nervous. So I’m very exited about our next game with them and playing at home.

I know some time has passed since the EuroLeague Women Final Four, but  I wanted to give my opinion. Valencia and Spartak turned out to be a very intense and interesting game. Although many people thought it would be an easy win for Spartak, because they have many star players and their bench is definitely much stronger then Valencia's bench.

Spartak played very tough defense from the beginning and it gave the team a quick advantage from the beginning, plus Valencia's leader Milton was in foul trouble. Without her, Valencia was in trouble. However, Valencia had an amazing comeback in the third quarter by bringing the score down to one point, but Spartak didn’t let Valencia get ahead. And in the end of the game Spartak sealed the win with a great shooting night. It seemed that they never missed.


26.03.2007

Today is my favorite day of the week, Sunday. It is usually the only day off we get during the week.

But I also got lucky today because the weather here in Prague is great, sunshine and about 15-17C. Last weekend it was raining and cold here in Prague, so I stayed home watching movies, which also wasn't bad.

That's why most of the day today I spent outside. Prague is a very beautiful city and I enjoy walking around downtown and may be relaxing in one of the restaurants that now had put tables outside since the weather is very nice. I'm sitting here with my childhood friend that is visiting me from Minsk. She used play basketball and of course one of the topics of our conversation is about the Final Four that is coming up.

Of course I think about this with a little disappointment as I had hoped our team was participating. In my career I haven't had a chance to be in a Final Four and of course for any athlete this one of the best accomplishments an athlete can achieve.

Ann Wauters (VBM-SGAU Samara)
Ann Wauters and CSKA Volgaburmash will have to use their height advantage to defeat Spartak Moscow.
When I think about the teams that will be playing in the Final Four, I can definitely say that all of them have definite chance to be number one. Each team has special strong points that it can use against the other.

I played against CSKA Volgaburmash and Spartak Moscow.  It will be a very interesting match, and I can not even guess who will win. Samara has a height advantage over Moscow - Maria Stepanova and Ann Wauters prove that point. And I think Samara's coach will try to use that as much as possible.

But in my opinion Moscow can use their toughness and quickness inside against Samara's height.  Post players such as Tina Thompson and Tamika Whitmore have fast and strong moves inside. Tina Thompson has a great inside and outside game and shoots well from three-point range.

Both teams have All Star line-ups, with the players who have an experience playing all over the world. For example, Samara has Amaya Valdemoro and Spartak Moscow has Diana Taurasi. Both players in my opinion have the same type of qualities to help their team to win. That will be an interesting match up. Both players can post up, can hit a three-pointer from one step behind the three-point line and also have excellent 1-on-1 games.

So the game should be very interesting. The team which is going to be able to use its strong points to the fullest will win......


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