Chatman Remains Positive While Warning Of Tarbes Quality

18 November 2009
By Paul Nilsen
Pokey Chatman is looking forward and not backwards as she ruled out making any comparisons between last years all conquering side and the current crop of stars treading the boards at Spartak.

The reigning EuroLeague Women champions get their campaign for a fourth successive win in the tournament back on track against Tarbes with Chatman keen to praise the new recruits for the way they have fitted seamlessly into their roles.

"It would be unfair to compare this year's team to the one from last year with so many new faces around. But we have a lot of quality players here who are really playing as a team.

"The arrival of Sylvia Fowles and Diana Taurasi before certainly means a lot since they are great and have been on last year's team. They know what it takes to win the EuroLeague Women."

She added "We also have Janell Mc Carvel, Edwige Lawson-Wade and Illona Korstin who played together for CSKA and thus know each other very well and needed no time for integration."

As with most encounters, Spartak head into the game as overwhelming favourites but Chatman isn't taking the visitors lightly and was quick to point out their durability and knack of making things difficult for their opponents.

"Tarbes have a lot of good players who all can score and make a difference. They have good post players and play as a team.

"Tarbes are a team who never give up, even if they are down. I watched their game against Gdynia and they stayed in the game all the time."

The man with the ardous task of trying to stop the offensive express train of Spartak is Tarbes coach Francois Gomez. It is something that he claims is very much mission impossible and has hinted that staying in the game for as long as possible will be the main aim when his team take to the floor.

"We are not here to win the game. We are not on the same level as the defending champion. We want to keep the game open as long as possible and see what happens.

"Our previous games in the EuroLeague Women showed that we are on the same level like Szeged, Brno and Gdynia, but Spartak is way above us."

The sentiments of the coach were echoed by guard Anne Breitreiner who is focusing on the players finding some consistency, even if preparations have hardly been ideal ahead of the clash.

"We had a terrible trip with long layovers. We are looking to give them a good game, but are not thinking about winning."

"We lack some experience on the top level. You could see that in our games against Brno, Gdynia and against Aix-en-Provence in our league at the weekend. We played three good quarters in each of the games . But then we lost our composure and went crazy on the court. We have to try to avoid this."

To make life even more difficult for Tarbes, Pauline Jannault twisted an ankle in the final practice session and is a doubt for the game.


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