Spartak Firmly Focused On TEO

04 February 2008

Spartak Moscow Region coach Natalia Hejkova has warned her players not to underestimate EuroLeague Women Eighth Finals opponents TEO Vilnius.

The two teams square off in the opening game of the best-of-three series on Tuesday in Vidnoje, the arena where Spartak won last year's European title.

"We have to concentrate very hard on the forthcoming game," Hejkova said.

"Despite the fact that TEO Vilnius took fourth place in their group, and our team has taken first place, we have to play at full strength.

"It's the eighth final play-off, and every team can spring surprising results!"

Spartak lost just once in the group stage while in Russia's Superleague, the only side to beat them has been CSKA Moscow.

In their most recent game, a domestic clash at Spartak St Petersburg, Hejkova's team rolled to a 101-75 triumph with Australia star Lauren Jackson scoring 32 points and pulling down 18 rebounds.

They will start as heavy favorites against TEO since Tina Thompson has recovered from her tonsillitis and three other international stars - Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Jackson - will all be available.

Reserve guard Marina Karpunina, a member of Spartak Moscow Region's all-conquering team last year, said of TEO: "The Lithuanian team is in an excellent physical form now, so we'll do our best to prepare for this game.

"We don't have anyone injured and we are training in a regular mode.

"It will be the first eighth play-off game and also it will be on our home court. We'll try to show a high level of basketball."

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