For the third time in the four year history of the award Maria Stepanova of Russia has been named the FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year.
The 2.03m center also won the award in 2005 and 2006 with Anete Jekabsone-Zogota of Latvia taking home the prize last year.
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.
|This is the third FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year Award for Stepanova.|
Domestically Stepanova made the move from CSKA Moscow to UMMC Ekaterinburg earlier this EuroLeague Women season and she has continued to thrive. In nine games for the Russian giants she is contributing 10.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
"Maria long ago established herself as one of the dominant players in the women's game." said FIBA Europe President George Vassilakopoulos.
"To have accomplished as much as she has before the age of 30 is truly amazing."
"It's rare to find a player that performs at such a high level for so many years," added FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin.
"Maria is once again deserving of this honor."
Stepanova just edged out 2007 winner Anete Jekabsone-Zogota of Latvia for the award. Amaya Valdemoro of Spain finished third and Ann Wauters of Belgium fourth.