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Spartak Swoop For Bird

27 December 2009
Spartak Moscow Region have signed American superstar Sue Bird for the remainder of the campaign.

Seeking a fourth straight EuroLeague Women title, the Russian giants have secured the services of the point guard that was instrumental in all three of those championship triumphs.

Steve Costalas, the Spartak sports director, said: "Spartak Moscow Region - Vidnoje has the pleasure to announce the resigning of Sue Bird. We believe this is the best holiday season present we could give our loyal fans.

"After a couple of months of much needed rest, Sue is returning ‘home' and the addition of the premier playmaker in the world hopefully will help us fulfill Shabtai's dream."

The Russian team's owner, CEO and general manager, Shabtai Von Kalmanovic, died tragically at the beginning of November.

Spartak shortly after announced that Australia superstar Lauren Jackson would not play for them this season.

"Contrary to rumors concerning ‘financial problems', thanks to the continuous support of the Governor of Moscow Region, Mr. Boris Gromov, it (Spartak) has signed the players we felt necessary for defending its European title," Costalas said.

At the start of the season in October, with Bird not with Spartak, the club brought in former CSKA Moscow playmaker Edwige Lawson-Wade and she rewarded the club with some solid performances.

Lawson-Wade, whose three-month contract has expired, played an average of 24.3 minutes in seven EuroLeague Women games.

"At this point we would like to thank Edwige Lawson-Wade, one of the most professional players to have ever worn our red and white uniform," Costalas said.

Bird is expected to join Spartak for their game on January 6 at Szeged Szeviep, a contest that was postponed because of the death of Von Kalmanovic.

They head into the game in Hungary with seven triumphs in as many EuroLeague Women games.

Bird, a point guard on the United States' gold-medal winning teams at the last two Olympics, averaged 11.2 points, 5.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game last season in Europe.

In the team's crucial Final Four victory over UMMC Ekaterinburg, Bird was arguably the best player on the floor and finished with 17 points on seven-of-nine shooting from the floor.

She also had four assists, four rebounds and two steals.

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