Wauters Looking Forward To All-Star Show

07 March 2006

By Steve Douglas, PA Sport

Ann Wauters is confident Wednesday`s All-Star Game and the ensuing Year of Women`s Basketball will help raise the profile of the sport throughout Europe.

The All-Star Game, to be held in Pecs, will signal the start of the FIBA Europe-run initiative, which will continue through until EuroBasket 2007 in Italy.

Wauters` own country of Belgium is one of the many nations the project is being aimed at and the VBM-SGAU Samara center feels the ever-improving women`s game will become more high-profile as a result.

"I only got into the game when I was 12 through somebody in my class at school," she told PA Sport. "It wasn`t big on television and basketball still is not that big.

Things like the All-Star Game will help women's basketball
Ann Wauters
"Belgium is only a small country and only about 30% of participants are women so we need to improve that and get more girls involved.

"Things like the All-Star Game will help women`s basketball. And the Year of Women`s Basketball will be important because players are going to talk to every different basketball federation in all the different countries to see how we can promote the game.

"We will be going to schools and meeting the kids to make it more localised. Players will be doing work in their own countries."

Wauters, who is averaging 15.7 points per game for the two-time world champions in the EuroLeague this season, is sure to be one of the leading performers in the All-Star Game.

And she admits the match is first and foremost about entertaining the public.

Ann Wauters (VBM-SGAU Samara)
Ann Wauters
"It`s good to have a little break from club games," she added. "We have just had the EuroLeague quarter-finals and it`s getting a little bit stressful at the moment.

"We will try to show the fun part of the game to the public on Wednesday. We will still try to be serious but it`s not all about winning - it`s more about entertainment.

"We don`t have the physical qualities that men do but we have different skills and we try to focus on teamwork and technique.

"It will be a good experience for me."


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