EuroBasket Women 2011
|A late arrival does not seem to be a problem for Sancho Lyttle, who joined the Spain squad at the last minute last year and still made the all-tournament team|
Spain vs Germany - Saturday at 15:00 CET
Sancho Lyttle missed almost all of Spain's preparations for this year's EuroBasket Women.
That may be good news for a team that's trying to capture the gold medal in the competition for the first time since 1993.
Last year, Lyttle was a late show at the FIBA World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic yet played so well on her debut for the national side that she earned a spot in the All-Star Five.
Jose Ignacio Hernandez's team also captured a bronze medal - the first for the Spanish women at a World Championship or Olympic Games.
The national side has made it a habit of winning medals at EuroBaskets.
Since 2001, Spain have won four bronze medals - the last in Latvia two years ago - and a silver in 2007.
A sign of the quality in the Spain squad is that Lyttle, Alba Torrens, Silvia Dominguez, Anna Montanana and Marta Xargay were members of the Halcon Avenida squad that captured this season's EuroLeague Women title, while veterans Amaya Valdemoro and Elisa Aguilar, and rising stars Anna Cruz and Laura Nicholls all celebrated Copa del Rey triumphs on the domestic front.
Germany didn't go into this summer with a lot of fanfare but they have made headlines by winning the Additional Qualifying Tournament to claim the last place on offer in the 16-team field.
Standout performers for new coach Bastian Wernthaler include veterans Sarah Austmann, Dorothea Richter and Anne Breitreiner while Svenja Greunke and Romy Bar have been big contributors.
Germany like to run and so do Spain so this could be a high-scoring game.
Poland v Montenegro - Saturday at 18:00 CET
|Has the time come for the star of Poland center Ewelina Kobryn to shine brighter than ever with the EuroBasket Women on her home soil?|
If ever there were a time for Ewelina Kobryn to establish herself as one of the great players in Polish basketball history, this is it.
The Wisla Can-Pack Krakow captain is one of the top centers in the competition and the absence of Magdalena Leciejewska and Agnieszka Bibrzycka from this year's team means she'll be counted on to lead in all areas.
The 29-year-old averaged 12 points and 7.3 rebounds two years ago when the Final Round was held in Latvia and this season she helped Wisla reach the EuroLeague Women Quarter-Finals after pouring in better than 14 points per contest.
What must worry Poland coach Dariusz Maciejewski is the tricky opener against Montenegro, a squad that has stepped out of the shadow of its men's team and made it to the EuroBasket Women at the first attempt.
The Montenegrins more than held their own last weekend against Spain in the Victory Cup that was played in Turkey and then finished that event with a victory over Greece.
Winning friendly games has bolstered the confidence of a side that has veteran talent in Jelena Skerovic and Milka Bjelica and a pair of sharpshooters in Jelena Dubljevic and naturalized shooting guard, Anna De Forge.
Maja Milutinovic, Skerovic, Snezana Aleksic and Bjelica all remained in Podgorica last week and skipped the Victory Cup to receive treatment on injuries and have recovered to make the final squad.