Cup Winners UMMC Pay Tribute To Battling Nadezhda

30 January 2011

Gundars Vetra (UMMC Ekaterinburg Coach)
UMMC Ekaterinburg Head Coach Gundars Vetra has now won the Russian Cup four times in a row

The pressure is on in Russia where several women's basketball teams are chasing trophies in Europe and the domestic league.

One of them, UMMC Ekaterinburg, already has one in the bag after beating Nadezhda Orenburg in a thrilling Russian Cup final on Friday.

The 79-73 triumph in Ekaterinburg meant the competition has been won for three straight years by UMMC.

UMMC coach Gundars Vetra has won four on the bounce.

He claimed his first as the coach of the now defunct CSKA Moscow women's side in 2008.

Surprise package Nadezhda, who had upset Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje in their semi-final, almost pulled off another stunner on Friday after taking the lead in the fourth quarter against UMMC but Olga Arteshina, Cappie Pondexter, Sandrine Gruda and captain Maria Stepanova made the big plays for the winners.

"We must realize that Nadezhda is now a completely different team, not what it was before," Vetra said.

"And now it is a very worthy opponent. The game was a good one, as expected for a final, and was an intense struggle until the last minute.

"In the end we showed more skill and organization, and maybe we were luckier."

Arteshina was voted MVP of the Russian Cup Final Four.

"I am glad that we had such a tense, intriguing game - especially for the spectators - which is worthy of the Russian Cup," she said.

"It's especially nice to win a game in which in the final quarter, we even trailed. So, of course, we are terribly happy, and we are terribly tired."

Stepanova was ecstatic with the Cup victory.

"I am very pleased to once again be holding a cup and feeling what it's like to be the champion," she said.

"It is great that we won at home in front of our fans. We were ready to fight in the final."


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