Does A Glass Ceiling Await?

10 June 2013

Each weekday in the lead up to the EuroBasket Women, profiles the 16 teams who will be appearing in France. This time, it's Serbia of Group C - back after a four-year absence.


Serbia celebrate their victory over Montenegro
Serbia qualified to the Final Round as the second-placed team in Qualification Round Group B

Road to EuroBasket Women 2013: Serbia sealed their trip to France despite having seen their qualification hopes balanced on a real knife-edge. They eventually finished second in Qualification Round Group B with a 6-2 record, squeezing out a crestfallen Poland in a three-way tie and progressing behind neighbours Montenegro.


Team History: Since becoming an independent nation, Serbia first qualified for the tournament in Italy six years ago, when they finished 11th and then 13th place in 2009 in Latvia. However, they failed to make it to EuroBasket Women 2011.


Keep an Eye On: There is lots of talent on the Serbian roster, with Jelena Milovanovic leading the frontcourt. She finished as the second highest scorer in EuroLeague Women last season with UE Sopron and seems to have returned to her best form after shrugging off the injury woe which meant limited participation last summer. The backcourt has plenty of talent too, with a trio of guards, all from Partizan Galenika, likely to be involved, especially Milica Dabovic who is very much the driving force offensively and defensively. Her sister Ana is the momentum-changer for Serbia. A wing player who can put points on the board in the blink of an eye and amass big game-winning totals, she will be the main scoring threat in most games and probably number one on the opponents' scouting report.


X Factors: There was muted expectation ahead of the qualifying campaign last summer as they returned to the top table thanks mainly to head coach Marina Maljkovic utilising a nice mixture of veteran players and rising stars, as well as relying strongly on a trusted core from her all-conquering club side, Partizan. The desired fusion of youth and experience looks like being retained this summer too, which is another big positive. Serbia have some very capable players on their roster who play hard and together as a tight unit. It will be essential their role players all contribute to be successful. For example, if Nevena Jovanovic who provided a deadly three-point shot during her debut summer with the national team, makes the final cut and can step up again, this will be a big bonus. Others like the efficient Sara Krnjic, will help harden the backbone which Serbia will rely upon and she could play a big part in the paint and on the glass.


In Summary: The notion that Serbia could theoretically field two very competitive teams at EuroBasket Women 2013 is not without some merit - or at least if they were able to rely upon all active players. Whoever is chosen, Serbia should have a solid team capable of going far, led by Milovanovic and the Dabovic sisters. However, could they be restricted by something of a self-imposed glass ceiling which means the podium that could potentially have beckoned, is now merely a dream? You seriously have to wonder whether Serbian fans might be left pondering what might have been, with the likes of Sonja Petrovic, Ivana Matovic and Miljana Bojovic all sat at home.


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