We take a look at the Euroleague Women prospects of the Croatian club as they prepare to embark on a second season in the competition.
|The iconic Sandra Mandir will not suit up for Novi Zagreb any more and it remains to be seen who can fill this void|
Last season: WBC Novi Zagreb found their rookie EuroLeague Women campaign to be a difficult initiation, managing to win only once in the 12 games they played.
Significant summer departures: The wonderful former EuroBasket Women All-Tournament Team member Sandra Mandir, fellow Croatians Mirna Mazic, Sena Pavetic and Matea Vrdoljak, along with American duo Leilani Mitchell and Latoya Williams.
Roster review: The management in the Croatian capital have ripped up the roster from last year into pieces and almost started off from scratch with a new-look team. It again has a significant Croatian core and national team experience. Monika Bosilj and Kristina Benic arrive having had big domestic seasons last year and being rewarded with a place on the roster at EuroBasket Women. The former has sharp shooting skills and the latter is a dynamic small forward who has caught fire in the past 12 months. The biggest Croatian arrivals are at opposite ends of the floor, with Iva Ciglar brought in to run the plays and fellow national team player Luca Ivankovic coming from arch rivals Sibenik, to bulk up the teams' presence in the paint, having been the standout player in the Croatian League last season. She is joined by Josipa Bura, whilst Lisa Karcic arrives on the wing, also with some experience at international level and supplementing Antonija Juric, who is retained. There been a move by the club to get help from their neighbours with the addition of Serbian veteran guard Milica Dabovic and Slovenian Tina Trebec, who joins her returning compatriot Eva Komplet with both looking for healthy seasons having sustaining serious injuries in the last 18 months. Two of the most influential signings could prove to be 30-year-old Spanish center Lucila Pascua who offers vast experience and Hungarian shooting guard Krisztina Raksanyi who remains one of the youngest players to have stepped out in the tournament.
|Milica Dabovic's intensity and tough defence will be a big plus for Novi Zagreb in the coming months|
Headline writer: Back in Euroleague Women again, this is a big season for Milica Dabovic. The Serbian guard can look forward to making history by leading her country at the FIBA World Championship for Women next year and will be desperate to have a good club season and show that this is the club competition where she belongs. She is very versatile, has been in excellent form and could be the driving force for her new team throughout this season.
Sliding Onto The Radar: Josipa Bura has never played in EuroLeague Women and is not a well-known face outside of her homeland. Despite having failed to sneak onto the Croatian roster for EuroBasket Women, she could be about to show herself as a very useful player and make it onto the radar with her usual cameo performances which often involve hard work, solid rebounding and some valuable buckets.
Scanning the schedule: If being drawn in Group C was a reasonable bit of luck and offers a fair chance of sneaking into the play-offs, the actual schedule has thrown up a seriously tough start. They may feasibly have to recover from a 0-3 record if they don't play to their full potential, but if that did happen, remember it's a marathon not a sprint and keep the faith.
In just ten words: Competitive on paper, but must excel to reach play-offs.