If CSKA Moscow have won some big games over the years, Saturday's triumph over Russian rivals Spartak Moscow Region was clearly one of the most important in terms of regular-season triumphs.
Facing the team that beat them to glory in the EuroLeague Women and the Russian Superleague, CSKA won 79-65.
France national team point guard Edwige Lawson-Wade of CSKA spoke to FIBA Europe about the success that has kept her side unbeaten in all competitions in the 2007-08 campaign.
FIBA Europe: Edwige, let's get straight to the point. Your 79-65 win over Spartak Moscow Region is going to make a lot of people think your team, which has not lost a game all season, is the best in Europe. Would that be an accurate assessment or is it too early to say if your team is the best?
|Lawson-Wade went head-tohead with Sue Bird in her team's big win over their rivals.|
Edwige Lawson: "I think it's too early to say that we are the best team in Europe. It was great to beat Spartak, but I'm sure they will come back even stronger from their loss."
FIBA Europe: Your team was without one of its best players, Amaya Valdemoro, because of injury yet you overcame her absence. Why was your team so successful against Spartak, especially in the second quarter when you outscored them 25-12?
Edwige Lawson: "We did a great job on defense and in rebounding in the second quarter. It was hard to know that we would have to play without Amaya, but the strength of our team has always been that we have a lot of good players that can bring so many things."
FIBA Europe: Your own assignment in that game must have been pretty tough. Did you have to guard Sue Bird and did she guard you for most of the game?
Edwige Lawson: "I had to guard Sue the whole time I was on the court and vice-versa. Sue is one of the best point guards in the world. She is very smart and has a great shot, so you always have to stay focused when you play against her."
FIBA Europe: Gundars Vetra is in his first year coaching CSKA and has been terrific in terms of winning games. What is he doing right that is making the team so successful?
Edwige Lawson: "Gundars is a great coach. He studies the game and always takes time to analyze our opponents, no matter who they are. He is very, very professional and you can only respect somebody that works as hard as he does. He used to be a player and I think that helps him a lot in his coaching. He knows how players feel, so he gets the best out of us by keeping us confident in our game. He is not one of those coaches that snaps people out after one mistake."
FIBA Europe: This week, you have another big game in the EuroLeague Women. You'll play at Fenerbahce in Turkey, and again you will go up against an exciting player in USA international Cappie Pondexter. What can we expect from the match up between the teams, and will you have the responsibility of guarding Pondexter?
Edwige Lawson: "It will be a very difficult game at Fenerbahce. I don't think I will have to guard Pondexter. It will probably be (Ilona) Korstin and (Olga) Arteshina. She is a great scorer and it will be very hard to stop her. I think we will have to focus more on stopping the players around her like (Tammy) Sutton Brown, for example."
FIBA Europe: Edwige, for those people who want to know something about you that is not basketball-related, what is the best movie you have seen in 2008 and what is the best book you have read in the past year?
Edwige Lawson: "My favorite book in 2007 was "le clan des otori" by Lian Hearn. I didn't see too many movies but living in Samara last year, I watched a lot of TV shows and my favorites were The Wire, Heroes, Desperate Housewives and Six Feet Under."
FIBA Europe: Okay Edwige, thanks for checking in again.