Sauret Gillespie Hopes 'Year of Women's Basketball' Can Improve Domestic Balance

10 February 2006
By Jeff Taylor, PA Sport

FIBA Europe's 'Year of Women's Basketball' initiative can raise the profile of the game if it brings parity to domestic leagues.

That is the view of UMMC Ekaterinburg's France international forward Audrey Sauret Gillespie, who feels the sport suffers from mismatches which occur frequently in national leagues.

"I still believe not enough teams can afford the best players and national championships are not tough enough in general," Sauret Gillespie said to PA Sport.

There does appear to be imbalance in some domestic leagues, but one competition which does have balance is the EuroLeague Women, which truly has been a wonderful advertisement for the game this season.

Most of the teams taking part are either loaded with international-calibre players or have a few national team stars.

UMMC, for example, has Gillespie, who won the EuroBasket Women title in 2001 with France, Team USA's Yolanda Griffith and Australia international Suzy Batkovic.

A testament to the balance of the EuroLeague Women was UMMC's knockout in the eighth-finals by MKB Euroleasing Sopron and their outstanding American, Nikki Teasley.

While Gillespie would prefer a similar balance in the domestic leagues, she is optimistic about the state of the game - especially in Europe.

"I think women's basketball has been improving for the past 10 years," she said.

"And having all the best players from around the world enjoying Europe makes any championship or any cup more interesting."

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