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Israel: In The Game Of The Father

23 February 2005
By Doug Booth, PA International

When Petra Ujhelyi lines up for Anda Ramat-Hasharon against Szeviep Szeged of Hungary in the FIBA Europe Cup Women Pan-European play-offs on Wednesday, there will be more than just a place in the next round up for grabs.

Family pride and friendly rivalry will be key ingredients of the game, which pits the Israelis, who won Group B, against the Hungarians, who finished bottom of Group C.

Petra Ujhelyi
While 1.91m center Ujehelyi will be a key player in Ramat-Hasharon's line-up, her father, Gabor will coach the visiting team.

And one of Petra's closest friends, Ines Ajanovic, her old team-mate at the University of South Carolina at Columbia, is averaging 13.2 points and 5.9 rebounds for Szeviep Szeged.

The 24-year-old Petra, who is averaging 8.6 points and 5.9 rebounds in the competition, went out for dinner with her father after both sides had completed their training sessions on Tuesday night.

"It was nice because the last time we met in person was Christmas although we talk a lot on the phone," said Petra.

"We just wished each other all the best and that the better team, hopefully, will win."

She had hoped her mother, Katalin, would make the trip to watch the contest between proud father and his not so little girl but she could not get time off work.

One thing is certain - from a financial point of view the family should be cheering on Petra.

"My bonus for advancing to the next round is much more than my father's so the family would be better off if my team wins," she said, laughing.

Petra, who played for the Detroit Shock in the WNBA in 2003 and two months for the Washington Mystics last summer, is hoping to return to the US.

But first things first, with her former club, Szeviep Szeged, firmly in her sights.

"I played for Szeged a year ago and there are still four or five the same girls on the team," said Petra.

"They are a balanced team and one of their most dangerous players is point guard Angela Delmis, who has made a big impression after joining the team a couple of weeks ago."

But Petra believes her club's team effort, spearheaded by center Chasity Melvin from North Carolina and Polish international Joanna Cuprys, should win through.

Dad sure won't be happy, though.

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