USK Prague Facing Do-Or-Die

10.01.2008

ZVVZ USK Prague coach Lubor Blazek admits his Czech club will have to forget about the EuroLeague Women Eighth-final Play-offs if they fail to improve on defense and beat Wisla Can-Pack at home on Thursday.

Prague are lingering in last place of Group B at 2-5 going into their home match against Wisla, who are 4-3 and in sole possession of second place.

"If we don't win, it's over with," said Blazek, who believes his team will have to win their final three games to reach the next round.

Group B is wide open after undefeated UMMC Ekaterinburg won for the eighth time on Wednesday.

Wisla are followed by Bourges Basket (4-4) and Halcon Avenida (3-5) while Jolly JBS Sibenik is now 2-6 after their defeat to Ekaterinburg this week.

"Others may say that two wins would be okay. But I think we need three victories. In my eyes, two wins will not be enough," said Blazek, whose team finishes the group with games at Avenida and at home against Sibenik.

Blazek's team has struggled against opponents who try to push the tempo, so he spent the holiday break preaching defense to his players.

"We need to play better defense," he said. "That's been our biggest problem. We haven't been playing very good at that end. We really struggle playing one-on-one defense. We work well within the system. But one-on-one is the problem for us."

The coach also said his team suffers through spells of lost concentration.

"We always have good motivation but we have some let-downs. There are one or two minutes where we don't have top concentration, and we make a couple of bad passes and the lead grows too large. We have to improve that."

Blazek did say he has been pleased with the addition of shooting guard Elena Karpova, who has averaged nine points, five rebounds and two steals in two games for USK.

"She's a good player and we're very satisfied. She works hard but like everybody else has had problems on defense. But she's really helped us a lot," said the coach.


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