MKB Euroleasing Sopron coach Norbert Szekely says stopping Fenerbahce's big players, mainly Tammy Sutton-Brown, will be critical for any chance to knot the Hungarians record at 1-1 in Group A of the EuroLeague Women.
"We know Fenerbahce from last year when they were a very, very good team. And it's really the same team. They have a very good coach and a very good system. I think the key is how we defend against Sutton-Brown, who is very strong inside," Szekely said to
|Stopping Tammy Sutton-Brown will by key if Szekely's charges hope to even their record. |
Szekely led Sopron to the EuroLeague Women quarter-finals last season - the Hungarians' second straight final eight appearance. But the club is missing two important players from last year's low post and struggled to start this campaign.
Ivana Matovic signed a three-year deal at Spartak Moscow Region and Reka Cserny moved onto US Valenciennes, and Szekely's team missed their presence - as evidenced by their 87-67 loss to ESB Lille Metropole in their Group A opener.
"We have to improve on defense for sure. Our defense was horrible. Last season we played very good defense in the EuroLeague Women and the Hungarian championship. But it's been terrible this year. And the key to the defense were those two players," the coach said.
"Now I have to teach our new inside players how to defend the pick-and-roll and one-on-one. So we have a lot to improve on on defense."
Sopron also had 19 turnovers against Lille.
"There were a lot of problems on offense, too,” Szekely said.
“We lost a lot of balls at the top of the key and that led to easy baskets."
Szekely knew he would not have Matovic and Cserny before the season. But his side was weakened against the French by the absence of the injured trio Iva Sliskovic, Zsuzsanna Horvath and captain Edit Eordogh.
Szekely said Sliskovic is not expected back until mid-December after knee surgery while Horvath is out at least two more weeks with an elbow injury - both of whom would help the Hungarian defense.
A big help, however, would be the return of Eordogh, who is fighting a leg issue.
"She is an experienced player and handles the ball and shoots well. She's the motor of our team," said Szekely.
Still, the coach believes his team stands a strong chance against Fenerbahce.
"We will be in Sopron and our fans will be in the gym and that will help us. But my team has to be better than last week."