| Dewanna Bonner saw her minutes limited on Monday with Nadezhda Orenburg resting her for two tense upcoming battles|
By Paul Nilsen
Whilst Nadezhda were swamped on the first day by the defending champions UMMC, a couple of wins against ZVVZ USK Prague and Tango Bourges would go a long way to helping them advance to the last four.
"I am excited to be at the Final Eight and especially in this kind of atmosphere with so many great teams and players," said the forward.
"It's my first time at the Finals of the competition and I guess it's a case of lucky number five for me.
"It's also really great to have made it for the fans and everyone at the club, because it's their 20th birthday this year."
In a tight play-off series against Wisla Can-Pack which could have potentially gone either way, it was Bonner who proved the difference maker and punched the ticket for the Final Eight.
She posted one of the best performances of the entire EuroLeague Women season in the second game, amassing an awesome near triple-double of 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.
In fact, it was also a display which she believes was one of the finest of her pro-career.
"I didn't even know my stats until after the game, but it was real fun and I just wanted the win so very badly," recalled Bonner who is now with her fourth club in the competition.
"I knew it would be my first time here at Final Eight and so I felt like I needed to make sure I was able to carry the team on my back."
Having still mustered an efficient 16 points and seven rebounds on the opening day's capitulation to UMMC, Bonner was taken out of the firing line to be rested.
That decision was not much of a surprise since there is now an extra onus on the senior players due to in-form shooter Natalia Zhedik no longer being able to play because of her pregnancy.
|"Losing the first game against UMMC doesn't matter if we can win the next games" - Bonner|
"Natalia is a great shooter and we will all have to now step up and make some threes in her absence," confirmed the Alabama native.
"She is still here with the team and watching from the bench which is a great thing, but everyone must now focus on what lies ahead.
"Losing the first game against UMMC doesn't matter if we can win the next games."
Meanwhile, despite some nice play on both sides of The Pond with Phoenix Mercury and Nadezhda, Bonner is yet to realise her dream of a call up to the senior national team.
Nevertheless, she is hoping that in the future she might be able to persuade head coach, Geno Auriemma to consider utilising her services.
She said, "It's always been a goal for me to play for USA, although it's tough and there is a lot of great competition.
"I guess that I just have to continue with the way I have been playing and hopefully one day it might happen for me."