Salamanca has an added significance for Maria Stepanova as it is now the place where she received her third award as FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year.
Maria Stepanova was presented with the trophy for Europe's best female player for 2008 by FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin before the start of her team's EuroLeague Women 2009 Final Four Semi-Final against Spartak Moscow Region.
The 2.03m center also won the award in 2005 and 2006 with Anete Jekabsone-Zogota of Latvia taking home the prize in 2007.
Stepanova was one of the leaders of the Russian team that captured bronze at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She averaged 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds in the Olympic tournament, including 15 points and nine rebounds in the medal clinching win over China.
Domestically Stepanova made the move from CSKA Moscow to UMMC Ekaterinburg earlier this EuroLeague Women season and she has continued to thrive.