By Jeff Taylor
Nadezhda Orenburg host Sony Athinaikos in the first leg of the EuroCup Women Final this week and one prominent coach in Europe is certain a thrilling tie is going to unfold.
Nadezhda are in Russia's Superleague Women and one of the coaches that has had to contend with them and their experienced coach, Vladimir Koloskov, is Spartak Moscow Region boss Pokey Chatman.
|Sheana Mosch, a former EuroLEague Women All Star has become the top scorer of Nadezhda right after her arrival|
"Orenburg's always a tough opponent," Chatman said to FIBA Europe.
"They're well coached, have good size and mobility in the post, have steady and solid play on the perimeter.
"They also bolstered their roster in December with the offensive prowess of (Sheana) Mosch and in February/March with (Monique) Currie."
Mosch and Currie were instrumental in Nadezhda reaching the EuroCup Women Final.
Nadezhda have a roster loaded with talent.
In addition to Mosch and Currie, 54-year-old Koloskov has the experience of Russia national team veteran Elena Baranova, Belarus internationals Anastasiya Veremeenko, Tatyana Troina and Katsiaryna Snytsina, and Russians Oxana Zakalyuzhnaya, Olga Ovcharenko and Tatiana Burik, who was born in Orenburg.
"They're very methodical in their offensive approach and do a good job of reading offensive situations," said Chatman, whose Spartak Moscow Region team is going after a fourth straight EuroLeague Women title when the Final Four is staged April 9-11 in Valencia.
"I haven't seen them lately, but I'd have to assume Mo Currie's added some firepower to their transition game."
Chatman hasn't seen Athinaikos and therefore can't predict which team is going to win.
But she does know enough about some of the players in their team, and the outstanding Greek coach George Dikeoulakos, to know they will tough opposition.
"Both teams will be well prepared in scouting, so no surprises," Chatman said.
"And Athinaikos will counter with a very good coach in Dikeoulakos leading the charge. And, as advertised, (Candice) Wiggins will bring her A++ effort which will fuel the charge for her troops - Ruth Riley and Co - to rally.
"This should be a great matchup."