Hejkova Reflects On Another Title Win

04.04.2007

The champagne has dried on the Spartak Moscow Region basketball court after Sunday's 90-76 win over Ros Casares in the EuroLeague Women championship game.

And with a couple of days to savour the triumph, Spartak coach Natalia Hejkova isn't too proud to admit she had some anxious moments at the Final Four.

"I have to say I was little bit scared before the final," the Slovakian said to www.basket.sk.

"I knew it would be very hard to play as well as we did in the semi-final (against CSKA Volgaburmash) and the game confirmed it.

"My players were very nervous in some moments."

But they survived, too, because of the experience and talent that runs straight through the team.

Tina Thompson (Spartak Moscow Region)
Tina Thompson had a terrific Final Four for Spartak Moscow Region.
Tina Thompson, with 24 points, confirmed her status as one of the all time greats in basketball.

"The most important players of our team are still Thompson and (Diana) Taurasi and (Agnieszka) Bibrzycka.

"Our stars finally understood that basketball is collective sport and that was the most important thing for our success."

The semi-final win over CSKA did not disappoint.

Though the Samara side lost, it got an incredible 26-point performance from Amaya Valdemoro.

"This game was great for the promotion of women`s basketball during all 40 minutes," Hejkova said.

"The game finished 90-76 despite tremendous effort from both teams on defense.

"The final result showed the high quality of both teams on the offense. We had a special day - we scored 12 three-pointers and Taurasi scored five of them herself, Bibrzycka four and Thompson two."

And one of the most important moves of the Final Four was the decision to start Irina Osipova to limit the contributions of her Russian international team-mate, Maria Stepanova.

"I decided to start with Osipova and that worked nicely," Hejkova said.

"Nobody expected her to play but I sent her to the playground to play good defense against Stepanova, who scored only two points in the first half.

"Stepanova scored just nine points in the whole game and we stopped (Ann) Wauters as well.

"All of my players prepared well for the game against Samara. After three losses, we won the most important game."

Hejkova has put the game into context in her career.

She was at the helm of SCP Ruzomberok teams that won European titles in 1999 and 2000.

"They were very different situations," Hejkova said.

"We went for the win in the EuroLeague, step by step in Ruzomberok, and it was marvellous to win the title back to back after our win in Brno at home.

"I found perfect players in Spartak but I had to fine-tune them to play as a team and that was not easy as well so this success is little bit different but its value is the same."


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