Gundars Vetra had to step into some very big shoes at CSKA Moscow as a replacement for Igor Grudin.
So far, those shoes are a perfect fit for a man who is coaching women’s basketball for the first time.
“The transition from the men’s game to women’s basketball hasn’t been that scary, as some people warned me that it would,” Vetra said.
“If a coach isn’t attractive for the players, though, the team won’t succeed. I am satisfied and we have results.”
Indeed they do.
||The transition from the men’s game to women’s basketball hasn’t been that scary, as some people warned me that it would.
CSKA Moscow are just one of three teams to hit the half-way point of the season with a perfect 6-0 record in the EuroLeague Women.
In fact, this Russia team that has moved from Samara to the capital city hasn’t lost in any competition.
Vetra and Co even won the season-opening FIBA Americas League in Ekaterinburg.
The latest club to fall victim to Vetra and CSKA was TTT Riga, 87-56, in Latvia.
Becky Hammon, an American who could end up playing at the Olympics as a naturalized Russian for national team coach Grudin, poured in 20 points in that game for CSKA.
“We had a lot of respect for the home team so we executed our game plan for all 40 minutes,” she said. “We knew it was a big game for TTT Riga and prepared well.”
Riga are not hanging their heads despite the defeat which has left them with a 3-3 record and in fourth place in Group A.
“Our performance on defense just wasn’t good enough,” said shooting guard Santa Dreimane.
“But we’ll continue to fight on.”
Vetra expects Riga to get a lot better before the end of the season.
And in a week that saw a record crowd of 7,125 fans – a EuroLeague Women record – turn out to watch Kosit 2013 host Spartak Moscow Region in Slovakia, the Riga game was well attended, too.
“It was a well-organized game and the gym was full, too,” Vetra said.