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Lesdema Bullish on Pays D'Aix Prospects

02 March 2004

France international Nathalie Ledesma is confident of Pays d'Aix Basket's chances against Polish side Gdynia in the Euroleague quarter-final first-leg tonight.

The 31-year-old Frenchwoman joined the southern outfit from Italian side Spezia last summer and has helped them reach the last eight of the European competition for the first time in the club's history.

"The team is very calm and motivated," Ledesma said. "We are the outsiders at this stage of the competition.

"It will not be easy against Gdynia, but everything remains possible.

"We clinched that qualification by defeating the defending champions Ekaterinburg, so we can also win over our Polish rivals and reach the Final Four," she added.

Coach Abdou N'Diaye shares Ledesma`s optimism ahead of the clash with the Poles.

"The girls are aware this is going to be a difficult fight but we are in a good spell," he said.

"In one month we have beaten the European champions, Ekaterinburg and the finalists Valenciennes.

"We deserve to be here, our defence is also very good. We are the third in Europe.

"We have to play without any reserve or pressure."

Two other quarter finals involving French sides are taking place tonight.

Both Bourges and Valenciennes have impressive European records and are facing Hungarian sides Pecs and Euroleasing-Orsi Sopron, respectively.

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Bourges, FRA
Chieti, ITA
Sopron, HUN
Gdynia, POL
Ruzomberok, SVK
Pécs, HUN
Les Milles, FRA
Valencia, ESP
Verkhnyaya Pyshma, RUS
Prague 7, CZE
Valenciennes Cedex, FRA
Moscow, RUS