|Paul Nilsen is a freelance basketball journalist writing for various web-sites and publications across Europe. If you would like to contact Paul you can e-mail him here firstname.lastname@example.org.|
Former Paulball hijacker Janel McCarville is back to take over the reins once again with another column hijack as the Beretta-Famila Schio center gives us the lowdown on life since being crowned a EuroLeague Women Final Four winner during 2010.
I guess I had better start by wrapping up my thoughts on my time in Moscow! Being able to have a chance to play for such a great team with such talented players and being able to carry our talents all the way to Valencia and win a EuroLeague Women Final Four championship was amazing. We lived up to the hype even though we fell short in the Russian League.
|Janel Mc Carville was at her best in the EuroLeague Women FInal Four 2010 in Valencia|
Facing Ekat as many times as we did, we knew each other well and it was a dog-fight every single match. As great as my time in Moscow was, I am not sure if I will ever have the chance to go back to Russia. The team and time we had together was special and I am truly thankful for that.
After heading home after Moscow, I feel I had one of my worst summers possible in the WNBA. It ended badly when during a shoot around, I rolled my ankle pretty badly! I was out almost a month because of it, and it even delayed my starting point in Schio. We had great team success and some players received great individual success as well but I was not one of them.
With so many new additions to the team, I tried to be the point post and get all my shooters the ball and really passed up my own looks. The best thing about it is that it is over and done with - nothing about my summer of 2010 can be changed and consequently I must focus on this season in Italy and then return this summer ready to help Cappie and the crew take the Liberty all the way to the Finals!
Having arrived in Schio, my first impressions both on and off court was that everything was great. It quickly turned into a great fit and I am really happy with my decision to make Schio my home away from home. From the moment I arrived, I was welcomed with open arms. The fans and supporters are great and truly enjoy basketball and the team. We have had several dinners with supporters throughout the year. After every game, the fans circle the entire court for high fives from the whole team. I love the interaction and even though I don't speak Italian, I still love to hear any compliments!
Of course we started by losing the Supercup to Cras Basket Taranto but first things first here folks, we really had only been playing with each other for about a week while Taranto had the same team from last year (minus Brunson - although I might add that's one big minus). Perhaps taking the game down to the last couple of possessions on Taranto's home court was not a bad show for our newly formed team.
It made us realize how much harder we needed to work, that things were not just going to be handed to us in League play and up until this point, we have only lost one game in Italian league to an exciting Faenza squad.
If you want me to try and compare the Italian league and the Russian league then it's difficult. Obviously each league is never the same, but actually these two are not so different at all. I would say the Russian league maybe had more big named players, more players that play in the WNBA, but by no means does that make them a better league in my opinion.
The players from Italy or abroad that play in this Italian league are as hard working as any. They might not have as many big names or big contracts but they come to work daily and leave it all on the court in every single game.
From the very first night of EuroLeague Women right up until now, it seems it doesn't matter what name is emblazoned across your jersey, you need to come to play every single night or you're going home with a loss. Sparta&K MR Vidnoje learned it early, and have since recovered. Fenerbahce have played some tough games as well, as have Ekat being in the Group with Fenerbahce.
|With her new team Schio, Janel Mc Carville is aiming high in the post season of the EuroLeague Women|
This year has been a great year because no one is really the walk away favourite to win it all. There are a bunch of teams, with great players and talent levels going through the roof. Everyone is really in the mix of things and it is shaping up to give us an interesting post season!
I have to mention Diana Taurasi of course. Everyone has heard that name more often as of late. I mean the girl was flat out balling this year. Not only did she win gold at the Worlds, she switched EuroLeague Women clubs without missing a beat. She is a true champion and a good friend. She hasn't died by any means and I am sure she will be back stronger than ever which is a scary thought but it is sad to watch such a worker and baller step to the side-lines.
We have a very strong squad at Schio and I don't want to pat ourselves on the back, but when weare focused, the sky is the limit. We have had great post games with tons of different styles between our post players (Me, Nadalin, Yacabou ) and our guard play with both shooters and drivers make them hard to guard. If Macchi doesn't get you with the three ball, she's going put it down for a two dribble lay-up. Believe me, even with good position, she will give you a ‘shimmytome', a sidestep and before you know it, the ball has already gone through the hoop.
We need to finish out this round strongly to ensure us a chance to move on and if that happens, as i said the sky really is the limit with this team. We have to get to the next round, and then it's game by game and I really like our chances (especially at home as I love the home crowds)
Just finally, I have to give some of the credit to the coaches here. They do a good job of scouting and preparing us for each and every game. They do their best to keep us focused between EuroLeague Women and the Italian league games. Sandro really has been one of my favourite coaches I have played for through the years.
Anyway, take it easy everyone and I hope you are already looking forward to the play-offs!