|The only positive on Wednesday night for Gintare was the reencounter with her Lithuania teammates |
Gintare Petronytė, the 2008 FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year, went up against her former team on Wednesday night when she and Galatasaray visited VICI Aistes.
When Petronytė suited up for the Lithuanian club, it was based in Vilnius and was called TEO.
Much has changed since.
Now VICI Aistes are based in Kaunas and Petronytė discovered, just as Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje and Halcon Avenida had already done this season, that winning in Kaunas is easier said than done.
On Wednesday, her old team won 91-86.
"It was really strange to play against my former team," she admitted. "But I was fully aware that I represent Galatasaray and was able to forget that I played against my friends."
Petronytė did go up against many of her Lithuania teammates that she will go into battle with next June at the EuroBasket Women in Poland.
Only 21 years of age, she is in a Galatasaray team that also has Team USA Olympic and World Championship gold-medal winning center Sylvia Fowles.
Petronytė is getting to play an average of 10.8 minutes per game.
Against her old team VICI Aistes, she played 13 minutes and had eight points and seven rebounds - better than her season averages of 5.3 points and 4.0.
One player that helped VICI Aistes keep their EuroLeague Women play-off hopes alive with a second straight victory was Rima Valentienė, a fellow Lithuania national team player.
"We tried and played as a team," she said. "The victory is like a dream. Now, we can still celebrate Christmas."
VICI Aistes are 3-5 heading into the last two weeks of the season, just like Galatasaray and Tarbes.
One player that is looking more and more like a late bloomer for VICI Aistes is 30-year-old Vita Kuktiene.
She had a career-high 26 points against Galatasaray, which included a five-of-seven effort from long range.
In last week's home upset of Halcon Avenida, Kuktiene hit three of six shots from long range and finished with 17 points.
Last season for TEO Vilnius, she averaged four points and one rebound in five EuroLeague Women games.