Week 6 of the EuroLeague Women is now complete and there have so far been no shortage of surprises in the competition. One of those may seem on the surface to be the selection of Anna Vajda as the week’s MVP, for her 11-point contribution to Sopron’s 58:57 win over Bourges.
Numbers alone can of course be deceiving, and in the case of Vajda, her 11-points proved to be the difference between a win and a loss for Sopron. Vajda (pronounced Voyda) was only on the court for a total of 11 minutes including the entire 4th quarter. But her contribution turned a game that Sopron looked well on the way to losing, into an unlikely victory.
Coach Natalia Hejkova made the inspired decision to bring Vajda into the game at the start of the 4th quarter, with Sopron trailing Bourges by 12 points.
Vajda then went on to score eleven 4th quarter points, hitting all 3 of her three-point attempts, including one with 25 seconds on the clock which won the game.
"I really wanted to prove I can play and I wasn’t thinking it was the last shot and could be decisive," said Vajda.
"I just wanted to make it."
Well, make it she did and in her first EuroLeague Women season, Vajda is making a name for herself.
As well as adjusting to a new level of competition, the 189 cm, 19-year old Hungarian is playing small forward for the first time in her career, a position she seems to be adapting to relatively quickly.
"I started to play as a 5,” she says. "Then I moved to the 4 and now the 3. I still want to become stronger and faster so I can play well in this position as well as being able to defend other small forwards."
Although she is a EuroLeague Women rookie, Vajda has already picked up some experience at the highest level and she was a member of the Hungarian national team that went to this summer’s European Championship in Greece.
“It was very interesting to participate in a competition with the best players in Europe,” she says. “I’m sure the international experience will be useful for the future.”
Right now the future means this season and Vajda’s goals are to do as well as possible in the EuroLeague Women and Hungarian Championship, while off the court keeping up her university studies in economics. Sopron has a young team and Vajda stresses the fact that their goals are long term and not just focused on this season.
However well Sopron end up doing domestically and in Europe, it is clear that more eyes will be on Vajda, certainly a player to watch out for.