Giant centre Margo Dydek has yet to join up with Poland but the team’s build-up to the European Championships is going according to plan.
Even without his 29-year-old talisman, coach Tomas Herkt engineered three wins over Finland in a recent tournament in Forssa.
Dydek, a 7ft 2in centre (218 cm), is the undisputed star of Poland but she is still fulfilling club commitments with the San Antonio Silver Stars in the WNBA.
Her scoring average of more than 20 points a game led her country to an eighth place finish at the Olympics in Sydney three years ago, and she poured in 24 points and grabbed almost 11 rebounds a game as the Poles finished sixth in the 2001 European Championships.
In the qualifying for this summer’s championships, she averaged almost 18 points a contest as Poland finished top of Group E ahead of the Ukraine and Turkey.
Dydek will not be available until the Silver Stars have played their final regular season game on August 23.
San Antonio have won only 11 of their 31 games and will not be going to the play-offs.
Crucially for Herkt is that none of his players were injured in the three wins over the Finns.
Elzbieta Trzesniewska, 30, who will play power forward alongside Dydek in Greece, sparked Poland in their opening victory, an 83-57 thrashing of the Finns.
Herkt’s women stretched a six point first-quarter lead into a 20-point half-time advantage and cruised home.
Shooting guard/small forward Agnieszka Bibrzycka, who is only 20 years old, had a particularly strong outing with a 14-point haul while veteran forward Joanna Cuprys poured in 13 and low post player Ewelina Kobryn had 12.
In the second contest, Poland trailed at half-time but claimed an 83-79 win on the strength of an impressive third quarter when they outscored the Finns 25-16.
In that triumph, Cuprys again stood tall with a team high 22 points. Trzesniewska shone with 16 while Krystyna Szymanska-Lara had 13.
The third contest saw normal service resume with Poland seizing a 77-64 victory.
Bibrzycka rose to the occasion with a team leading 18 points.
Poland’s players are currently in Cetniewo in the northern part of the country on the Baltic coast after winning three friendlies against Finland.
The will travel to France on Wednesday for another tournament before the players return home and have their health assessed at the Central Medical Institute in Warsaw.
At the end of August, Poland will travel to Zakopane in the southern part of the country for three days where they will hopefully be joined by Dydek before going to the Slovak Republic for another tournament.
Poland’s players who took on Finland included Trzesniewska, Bibrzycka, Cuprys, Kobryn, Edyta Koryzna, Renata Piestrzynska, Anna Wielebnowska 5, Szymanska-Lara 4, Emilia Lamparska, Beata Krupska-Tyszkiewicz, Sylwia Wlazlak and Agnieszka Palka.