Becky Hammon is one of the most instantly recognisable faces in women's basketball and we turn to the star guard to give us an insight into some of her Sparta&K M. R. Vidnoje team-mates ahead of the EuroLeague Women Final Eight.
|Almost every player at Sparta&K carries a nickname, usually courtesy of... Becky Hammon's mother|
Hello EuroLeague Women supporters from here in Moscow! What a great time of the year for women's basketball fans around the world! With the first ever Final Eight quickly approaching, there's certainly some extra excitement in the air.
It seems like it was October only just now and March was a long way off time-wise. But, as any serious competitor would tell you, the Finals are never far from our respective minds. As a player, these are the type of games we play for and that is why you put in countless hours, and also why players want to come to Sparta&K M. R. Vidnoje - which neatly leads me into telling you all about some of my team-mates!
SEIMONE AUGUSTUS - Seimone, or ‘C-Money' as my own mother nicknamed her! I didn't really know Seimone coming over to Sparta&K, but I certainly looked forward to playing with her and happy being on the winning end of some of the game-winning daggers she has served up over her career.
We were always cool with each other in passing and I think each of us have a mutual respect for each other's game. But, as big a fan as I was of hers on the court, I have to be honest and tell you, she's an even better person and so funny! She's got us cracking up regularly in the locker room and on the court.
One day, one of our post players forgot her shorts to practice in, and all our sports equipment manager could come up with was these itty bitty shorts that looked like they belonged to my thirteen-year-old niece.
I mean they were probably brand new once - yep, back in 1987! If you know Seimone, you know she likes her shorts extra large and baggy, so seeing that our post player was horrified to put them on, she happily exchanged her shorts for the itty bitty ones!
Granted they were still entirely too small for Seimone, but as the saying goes, "she'd give you the shirt off her back". Well clearly, Seimone will also give you the shorts off her bottom to help out a team-mate! It's a small thing, but goes a long way in a locker room and certainly made an impression on me!
CANDICE DUPREE - Next we have Candice or ‘Smooth' as my mother nicknamed her as well! (Although, I'm sure it's not the first time she's heard this nickname).
She does make everything look pretty effortless. I love playing with her since she's got Spiderman hands, which means she pretty much catches everything you throw at her.
I wish I had a story that I could tell you, but she's a pretty cool customer - she never really does anything stupid that I could call her out on. Well, besides her wishing me a ‘Happy 40th Birthday' so perhaps this gives you an insight into her sense of humor!
But, the old lady always smokes her in warm up drills, which led to her giving me my nickname, ‘Over Achiever'! She'll understand in a few years, those warm up minutes are valuable to the ‘Thirty-plus club'!
|The main characteristic of Sonja Petrovic is... braininess. Just ask the Serbian international anything you ever wondered about and she'll know the answer|
SONJA PETROVIC - Let's see, I guess there's just far too many nicknames for Sonja to name just one! She's got a broad spectrum of them, most of them referencing her braininess! She's a smart little cookie, this one.
And yes, Sonja, 'braininess' is a word! It didn't get underlined with my spell-check!! Basically if you need to know anything about pretty much anything, ask Sonja since she probably knows and will be more than happy to tell you in either Serbian, English, or Russian, or perhaps in some other language that she speaks.
TATIANA KOROVUSHKINA - ‘T-Pain' is what we adoringly call her! She's one of the hardest workers we have on the team, and gets the duty of defending Seimone every day in practice - no small task for anyone.
She comes in everyday and tries to make herself and everyone else better and always has a good attitude! All teams need players like 'T'. She's someone who isn't out in front of everyone, but is certainly a special piece to our puzzle! We nicknamed her ‘T-Pain' because she doesn't back down from anyone. She's always up for challenges!
EVGENIYA BELYAKOVA - ‘JBreezy' or ‘Sniper', or ‘best shooter on our team', has got a lot of nicknames as well but she'll answer to all of them! ‘J' speaks great English as well and plays a great host to all the foreigners here in Moscow.
Even though she's from Saint Petersburg, she's generally in charge of our team's extracurricular activities! Whether it's going to the shopping mall or out to dinner, she can show you all the good spots in Moscow! And, at the Final Eight, we're looking for 'J' to find her spots on the court and make the defences stretch with her deadly three-point shooting!
The Best Is Yet To Come
We actually have a team full of nicknames including ‘Hot Sauce', ‘Shaq', ‘Kuzka', ‘Sushka', ‘Milo'- the names actually go on and on, and can even change daily! All that being said, we really do have a great group of girls here on this team.
It's certainly been a great season thus far, with lots of laughing and joking inside the locker room and a lot of hard work and sweat on the court. Each individual certainly brings their own personality and skill-set to the team which have helped us be successful thus far.
And now, with the most important part of the season coming up, we believe that the chemistry and heart of this team is what's going to help us get to that EuroLeague Women Final Eight trophy!