Injury Worries For Russia

03 August 2005

Russia may be without several key players for the upcoming EuroBasket Women, which begins in Turkey next month.

Elena Baranova has been ruled out of the tournament, while fellow forwards Svetlana Abrosimova and Natalya Vodopyanova, and centers Maria Stepanova and Mariya Nikitina are all doubtful.

Head coach Igor Grudin told Sport-Express: "We had an agreement with Stepanova that she would join the team on August 15 but now there are some problems and we are trying to get over them.

Maria Stepanova (Samara)
Maria Stepanova
"Abrosimova hasn't played for the team since the Olympic Games in Sydney but she is keen to come back, and if her club do not reach the play-offs we'll find a place for her in the team.

"As for Vodopyanova, she may not be fit to start even if she is able to join us as she didn't play at the beginning of the WNBA season and is still only playing about 10 minutes per game. It's difficult to understand what is her form at the moment.

"We've decided to give Baranova a rest. She played a lot of games in the Russian Championship and is now doing the same in the WNBA. Moreover, New York will most likely qualify for the play-offs.

"I've counted on Enzhe (Kazan) center Mariya Nikitina, but she has a knee injury, so I've called up several players from the team that won the U20 European Championship last year - Marina Karpunina, Olga Yakovleva, Irina Sokolovskaya and Marina Kuzina."

The team are currently at a training camp in Serbia & Montenegro, where they will take part in a tournament against the host nation, France and China, which runs from August 5-7.

EuroBasket Women squad: Ekaterina Demagina (Enzhe Kazan), Marina Karpunina (Spartak Moscow Region), Ilona Korstin (VBM-SGAU), Olga Naimushina (VBM-SGAU), Oxana Rakhmatullina (Dinamo Moscow); Svetlana Abrosimova (Minnesota), Olga Arteshina (VBM-SGAU), Natalia Vodopyanova (Seattle), Elena Karpova (Dinamo Moscow), Irina Sokolovskaya (Vologda-Chevakata), Yulia
Tokareva (Spartak Moscow Region); Marina Kuzina (Nadezhda Orenburg), Maria Stepanova (Phoenix), Elen Shakirova (Dinamo Moscow), Tatiana Schegoleva (VBM-SGAU), Olga Yakovleva (Vologda-Chevakata).

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