The Insider: UMMC Ekaterinburg

26 March 2012

Having won a host of trophies both at club level and with the Russian national team including EuroBasket Women gold last summer, Svetlana Abrosimova knows what it takes to deliver success. With a little help from Candace Parker and Sue Bird, Svetlana gives us the heads up on her Ekaterinburg teammates as they go for EuroLeague Women glory:


25. Svetlana Abrosimova (UMMC Ekaterinburg)
Svetlana Abrosimova gives an exclusive insight into her UMMC Ekaterinburg teammates.

Hello EuroLeague Women fans! There are only a few days left before the biggest and most important competition of the year begins! During recent seasons, we've had a great group of players who played very well during regular season but couldn't get past the semi-finals! This year our team has changed, our coaches have changed and the EuroLeague Women Finals have changed! So, with this in mind, we are very hungry and motivated to win this year's title.

There are many great players on my team and most of you already know of their talent, experience, and high basketball IQ. But, I would like to add some inside info to their bios and specifically, some things that you would certainly never be able to find out on your own.


SANDRINE GRUDA - She is the team singer. She loves to sing and will do it anywhere. It doesn't even matter in what language. She is the best one at karaoke (or so she thinks). It actually makes sense that she likes to sing because she's the loudest on the team and especially with her laugh. She is extremely business minded and considers herself an entrepreneur and therefore was the last person to buy an iPad because she thought they were overpriced.

DEANNA NOLAN - Whenever someone on our team has a computer problem they go to the Bill Gates of UMMC Ekaterinburg who is also known as ‘Tweety'. She is our IT engineer. ‘Tweety' doesn't sing as much as Sandrine but she has an amazing voice and knows every word to every song.

SANDRA LINKEVICIENE - Sandra is as tough as nails on the court but a very different person off the court. She is very shy and the most innocent player on the team. We love to admire and joke about her ‘strong' calf muscles which she hates, but they are by far the biggest ones in the whole of Europe. Sandra is also our last hope if we get lost in translation with our Lithuanian coaches. She's a real sweetheart.

YELENA LEUCHANKA - ‘Y', as we like to call her, is the beautician of the team. She loves testing out all the new beauty products and will gladly give us advice on cosmetics, body treatments and all the latest fashion trends. But that's not all she keeps us up to date with. She keeps our team on top of all the latest celebrity gossip and reality shows.

HANA HORAKOVA - Hana is the most polite person on our team. She will always say ‘good morning', wish you ‘Bon Appétit' and ask you about your parents. She's always very positive and nice, but just watch out for her sarcasm because she'll soon have you cracking up with laughter. She also has the cutest Russian/Czech/English accent ever and it's a real team favourite.

MARIA STEPANOVA & OLGA ARTESHINA - Maria and Olga are the best of friends and you will never see them apart from each other. Olga may look very stoic, but she will be the first person on a dance floor at any team function. She also loves to be the last person on the bus so she can steal every extra second of fresh air. Masha meanwhile is the funniest when she is telling stories in English and is always trying to convince the coaches to give us an extra day off.

SUE BIRD - Sue is like ‘Tweety' since she's an incredibly smart electronic user. She always keeps us updated on the coolest apps and teaches us how to use them! Sue is full of fun stories and can name any line from any famous movie. But most importantly, she has a witty humour that will pass you by if you don't pay attention.

TATIANA VIDMER - Tanya loves cars, both talking about them and driving them. She is our automobile expert. Besides having our team car, she also brought her own car from Moscow and sometimes she will rent another one just to drive around Ekaterinburg on a day off.

13. Candace Parker (UMMC Ekaterinburg)
Candace Parker takes her daughter Lailaa and her foam stretching roller Arthur everywhere.

CANDACE PARKER - Everyone knows Candace as a mother and a wife, but what people don't know is that she has another special person in her life. She takes him everywhere and even lets us use him when we need to. His name is Arthur. He is American, he's made of foam and he rolls. He's her foam (stretching) roller! Candace is also my personal Twitter consultant and the team consultant for everything involving the NBA. If a trade happens, it seems she knows even before David Stern.

SHAY DORON - She's the smallest guard on our team, but her feet are even bigger than Maria Stepanova's. She's also a big eater, but it seems every time we eat at a restaurant she leaves with part of her meal on her shirt. She talks about her hometown every day, whether it's about the food or the weather, and the way she describes it makes us want to buy plane tickets immediately. She also secretly thinks she's Jim Carey and quotes Ace Venture daily.

ANETE JEKABSONE - Of course, the most missed member of our team is Anete. She is an avid gum chewer, a true dog lover, and probably the most gullible person alive. Her smile and laugh is infectious and we know she will be with us in Istanbul in spirit. Although we do wish we had her left handed jumper with us.


And last but not least is Lailaa Williams, Candace's daughter! She has not played one minute or scored one point for our team, but she has the biggest impact on our team's positive energy and attitude. Lailaa is the coolest, best dressed, most positive and the funniest team member of UMMC.

Candace Parker on SVETLANA ABROSIMOVA - ‘Svety' as we call her, is our international ambassador. You don't understand something? She translates it. Want a good restaurant? She picks it. Need important information? She's got you! ‘Svety' always knows how to have a good time and make us laugh, sometimes at her. Like the time she brought two right shoes to practice!



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