EUROBASKET WOMEN 2015 2ND QR
| Paulina Pawlak wants to build off the success she experienced this year with Wisla Can-Pack and take it to the national team|
While the comeback of the previously retired Ewelina Kobryn has written headlines in Poland, there is also another notable returnee for the EuroBasket Women 2015 2nd Qualification Round.
For influential playmaker Paulina Pawlak missed out on the 1st Qualifying Tournament last summer due to injury, but is now thrilled to be back on board as her nation looks to seal their place in the Final Round next year.
"I am very glad that I got the call and I was able to come back," smiled Pawlak, very much an integral part of the Wisla Can-Pack team which dominated domestically.
"I would really like to close this season with another success as we managed to win the Polish Championship (with Wisla) and now I'd love to move to EuroBasket Women again."
Poland didn't appear at the 2013 edition in France last year, having been hosts two years earlier. Also the decision of their marquee stars Agnieszka Bibrzycka and Kobryn to hang up their national team shoes looked like it would hit the team hard - but the U-turn of the latter has since proven a real tonic.
"I firmly believe in the composition of the team which now has Ewelina and we will be able to achieve our aim," mused Pawlak ahead of pending games against Luxembourg, Slovenia and Slovak Republic.
"For every opponent, we will be prepared individually. Overall, it seems to me that we'll be a team that can never be reproached for not fighting - with bravery, ambition and aggressive defence being the things that will characterise us.
"We will also strive for easy points with a fast attack and we will of course have to play consistently.
"But, we have a lot of girls that have high individual skills and with Kobryn under the basket, we will be much stronger because this will be a difficult element for our opponents as she is one of the best centers in Europe.
"I think that the toughest rival team will be Slovakia as they are always more or less at our level," continued Pawlak.
|The return of Ewelina Kobryn is a major boost for Poland|
"They now also have a naturalised American athlete in Kristi Toliver, who plays very well on the perimeter and so will therefore be even stronger.
"Slovenia is also not a weak team either as they have EuroLeague Women players such as Teja Oblak, and Nika Barić from Sparta&K Moscow.
"This will not be easy and the big unknown is Luxembourg, although we should not have much of a problem with this team."
With almost a decade of senior experience behind her, Pawlak is well placed to assess the mood of the Polish camp this year and believes the chemistry could barely be better.
She stressed, "This is an important factor needed for success and I must admit that I do not know of a team that has achieved great success with no atmosphere.
"This is very important and especially in women's basketball.
"I think that since we started, we have tried to build a good atmosphere and create a collective, which in the most difficult moments will hopefully prove supportive.
"All the girls more or less know each other and we have had a sufficient number of days at camps together, so that the atmosphere is very good."
She added, "Everyone is motivated, we want to fight together and it is cool that we have this collective spirit which can only help us on the court."
Pawlak and Co. open their Group A campaign with a home fixture against Luxembourg on Sunday.