| Tiina Sten is finally finding a home away from home at TSV Wasserburg in Germany|
Having never previously stayed with the same pro-team, Tiina Sten jumped at a return to TSV Wasserburg as fibaeurope.com women's specialist Paul Nilsen found out.
SECOND HOME AND SUCCESS IN GERMANY
Five clubs in five seasons, meant Finnish forward Tiina Sten had been used to the hello and goodbyes, but for the first time, she's now able to reflect on her first ‘welcome back' hug.
"It feels great to be in Wasserburg again," smiled Sten.
"It's like a second home, knowing how we do things and what is expected.
"I was maybe a little restless before, I always wanted to see more, but this was the perfect situation to stay. I really trust the club which is special these days. The team grew together last season on and off the court.
"We've changed four players, but the core has remained, so we know each other well and work in a very unselfish way to reach our goals and I love that!"
She continued, "Last year we achieved pretty much what was expected with the German Championship and only losing a couple of games.
"EuroCup Women was a learning experience. Maybe we could have achieved more, but everyone, including our coach were new, so we weren't quite ready.
"There are always ups and downs, but overall, it was a very successful year and I'm happy with what I gave to the team, even though you have individual ups and downs," Sten added.
"In EuroCup Women I did fine, but afterwards in the German League, I had hard times finding a balance, playing in a big rotation, although I got it together for the play-offs.
"Overall, the mentality here is to do whatever is needed to help the team."
SEEKING A WELCOME REPEAT
A repeat for the 28-year-old, would be welcomed, with the club looking for more against Basket Landes, Aluinvent Miskolc and Lotto Young Cats in the new regional structure of EuroCup Women.
She insisted, "I think our group is very doable. There are some strong teams, but we've learned a lot and are stronger.
"I'm confident we will do well and we're happy we don't have a 24 hour trip to Siberia, because that was quite an experience.
"Individually, my goals are same as the team goals, and I know what I must do.
"I'm trying to stay consistent, giving my experience to the team.
"Last season I was playing both guard and forward, but with the team structure this year, I can focus on the four spot, which makes it easier for me.
"I'll be working as always on running, shooting, creating, driving - a little bit of everything!"
RAISING THE FINNISH FLAG
|Representing Finland remains close to Tiina Sten's heart |
Whilst Wasserburg is an ideal second home, the heart of Sten remains entrenched in Finland.
"Finland is special to me, since that's where my friends and family are and the more I'm away, the more I appreciate the country," she explained.
"I realise I was lucky (almost spoiled) to live my childhood there"
"I enjoy summers in Finland but when it's really dark and cold, it's okay to be somewhere else!"
Meanwhile putting her homeland on the basketball map has been a job of the men's team, but Sten hopes the women can add to the momentum via qualification for EuroBasket Women 2015 next summer.
"It's been amazing following the success of our men's team and there's a big basketball boom, which will bring us many good things in the longer run," she confirmed.
"I'm sincerely happy for them, but in the back of my head, I want the women to be there too.
"We started a similar kind of project few years ago, and there's been progress. It won't happen overnight, but the most important thing is we have a direction where to go and we're working hard within the concept.
"We have players like Taru Tuukkanen and Reetta Piipari, who have given so many years to this and for them, I'm really hoping we will take another big step sooner rather than later."
Tuukkanen is of course a true legend of the national team and even if she isn't getting any younger, Sten isn't too concerned just yet.
"Yes, she's one of a kind and if it was anyone else, there would be a need to worry, but it's Taru.
"Maybe the body gets older, but the mind only gets sharper and more determined - she won't stop!
"Jokes aside, I honestly think she has years ahead, but when that day comes she will be a huge gap to fill - although the way the Finnish national team plays now, we don't rely only on individuals, but more on the concept and team play, so this will make that gap a bit smaller."
Sten will step out in EuroCup Women with TSV Wasserburg on 06 November against Lotto Young Cats.