Dimitrova, Bulgaria Hope To Meet Expectations


Bulgarian captain Ekaterina Dimitrova is fully aware of the challenge her team faces at the U20 European Championship for Women in its bid for glory.

She and her teammates have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a mark for her country.

The standard of basketball in Bulgaria is not as high as in Western Europe. But we are the girls that can make an impact.
"It's the first time we are playing in Bulgaria," said Dimitrova.

"For us to host this tournament means a lot.

"The standard of basketball in Bulgaria is not as high as in Western Europe.

"But we are the girls that can make an impact.

"Everyone say that the 1987 and 1988 generation of women are the best we have had so we have to give everything.

"We want to take one step forward for Bulgarian Basketball in this championship."

The tournament hosts got off to a great start by beating Ukraine 81-69 on the opening day but they crashed back down to earth after putting up a brave fight in a 64-55 defeat to Germany on Saturday.

"Every win is very important with the change of rules of the championship," she said.

"But we know it's not going to be easy.

"It's very hard to play against certain teams that are here to win the tournament.

"They fight for every ball and we have to do that."

Bulgaria take on France in their next Group D game on Sunday, hoping to progress to the qualifying round.

"In our first game against Ukraine we showed we wanted the win much more," said Dimitrova.

"We gave 100% and we need to keep doing that, give more and get better as the tournament goes on."

Dimitrova, a point guard who played this season for Italian side Mercede Basket, admits there is pressure.

"The expectation is very high from the fans, the federation and the coaches," said Dimitrova.

"But more importantly, we, the players, have very high goals.

"We want to get to the last four. We are playing for this and this is the only thing in our heads.

"Last year, we won seventh place, the previous year eighth place so now we want more and what better place to achieve it that in front of our home fans."

Dimitrova averaged 11.6 points per game and topped the assists chart with 6.3 per game as Bulgaria finished seventh in Sopron last year.

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