|08 May 2013|
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013
|Alina Iagupova is in the dark regarding her potential WNBA career|
Reigning FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year Alina Iagupova has admitted being left in the dark over her recently annulled WNBA draft status as she prepares to lead the Ukraine national team again this summer.
The explosive sharp shooter will be the kingpin once again as Ukraine return to EuroBasket Women having missed out last time. But, when it came to talking about her voided selection in the 2013 draft by the Los Angeles Sparks, the player was still feeling a little bemused.
"I know no more than you" explained Iagupova.
"No one explained. I only know that they annulled the choice because I had already turned 21."
However, despite the saga, Iagupova has more pressing matters on her mind and is thrilled to be starting an intense preparation programme ahead of landing in France.
She said, "The atmosphere in the team is good, with a good mood and work ethic.
"We expect full training and there will be more trips than last year.
"For example, before EuroBasket Women, there will be a major tournament in Belarus."
One of the players who missed out on qualification last year was Oleksandra Khomenchuk and she is determined to force her way back into the reckoning.
She is also hopeful that Ukraine can post a strong display next month when they go up against Montenegro, Slovak Republic and Turkey.
"Last summer I was not in the team because I had back problems but they are cured and alright now, so this year, I was able to attend the preparations" explained the center.
"Although I feel that I still lack some training, so it will be a bit hard physically.
"Our opponents are all strong and it's no wonder they are going to the final round of EuroBasket Women.
"But for sure, the coach will prepare us well and we will show a good result.
"All the girls are well aware of each other, because for many years they have played together in the youth or senior national team."
Vadim Czeczuro has a wealth of players to choose from, since Ukraine have always cast their net far and wide in recent years.
In addition to Iagupova, he can also call upon the considerable experience and talent of Oleksandra Kurasova who impressed for Rivas Ecopolis in EuroLeague Women last season.
However, a couple of big names will be missing according to the play-caller.
He said, "Almost all the players who we invited have now arrived except Viktoria Mircheva who was playing in the French Cup.
"There is a problem for Lyubov Alyoshkina, since she broke her nose and has undergone surgery but will be coming on the 10th or 11th of May to undertake an individual programme.
"It is a pity that due to injury, we have dropped some big players - Valeriya Berezhynska and Olesia Malashenko."
Despite this, Czeczuro is still pleased with the early signs from his team who qualified despite losing two of their first three games last summer.
"We have conducted two practices and I am very happy that, like last year, the girls are training one hundred percent.
"It is clear that the girls are in different [physical] conditions, so we had a test, which led to a plan leading up to EuroBasket Women so they all arrive in optimal shape."
He also admitted that he feels that Ukraine will be the underdogs in Group A.
"We know that Turkey are a strong team who are capable with both their large and small players.
"Montenegro played with Poland, so I have enough information [about them] (Czeczuro spent a large part of his career coaching in Poland) and both them and Slovakia took first place in their qualifying groups.
"It is therefore clear who the weakest team at EuroBasket Women will be. However, we will not be going there for a vacation package."
Ukraine will start their schedule of preparation games with a tournament involving Belarus, Lithuania and Poland.
They will then head to Czech Republic on (21-22 May), before playing against a Russian select team (29-30 May).
The final warm-up action will take place in Belarus where they play in a tournament involving Serbia, Italy and the hosts.
The full roster is as follows: Lyubov Alyoshkina , Kateryna Dorogobuzova, Olga Dubrovina, Alina Iagupova, Oleksandra Khomenchuk, Oksana Kisilova, Inna Kochubei, Kateryna Kovalova, Olga Kryshtal, Oleksandra Kurasova, Olesia Malashenko, Krystyna Matsko, Olga Maznichenko, Viktoria Mircheva, Alisa Nazarevych, Olena Ogorodnikova, Anna Pokoiova, Kateryna Rymarenko, Olena Samburska, Tetiana Shchypakina, Viktoria Shmatova, Ievgeniia Spitkovska, Ganna Zarytska, Olena Zherzherunova