All Stars Take Center Stage


When it comes to the EuroLeague Women, there's no greater thrill than seeing Spartak Moscow Region's Diana Taurasi or UMMC Ekaterinburg's Agnieszka Bibrzycka stop and pop from long range.

Seeing Marta Fernandez of Wisla Can-Pack Krakow catch a pass in transition and soar in for a lay-up is watching poetry in motion.

Then there is always the intensity and emotion shown by Delisha Milton-Jones of Ros Casares.

All four have two things in common.

They will be at the EuroLeague Women Final Four in Valencia next month with their respective teams, chasing Europe's biggest prize.

They're also in Gdynia preparing to put on a women's basketball show for a city that lives in a constant state of basketball euphoria.

All of the players taking part in the All Star Game event have been letting their hair down since arriving in Gdynia on Monday, taking a much-needed break in a pressure-free environment.

On Monday night at the Gdynia Musical Theater was arguably the finest production ever made for a EuroLeague Women related event.

The Europe and Rest of the World players and coaches entered the venue to huge applause.

They were presented with bouquets of flowers onstage and recognized by EuroLeague Women hosts Lotos Gdynia.

What followed was a terrific show of music and dance.

The atmosphere could not have been more festive, which included a rendition of the Copa Cabana.

Imagine what it must have been like to have the All Star Game players sitting in the front row at the edge of the stage, so involved with the performance that they sang: "Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl, with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there ..."

Taj McWilliams of Frisco Sika Brno and the Rest of the World team was so wrapped up in the performance that she joined in the fun, tossing her flowers back on stage at the feet of a comedian.

On Tuesday morning, both teams practiced and then conducted a basketball clinic for promising young players in Poland.

Taurasi and Lotos Gdynia star Ivana Matovic had a shooting contest with girls, while Janell Burse of Wisla helped others conduct rebounding drills.

The main event tips off early Tuesday evening.

It's safe to say that by the end of the night, European basketball will have made its mark on International Women's Day.

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