Ros Casares Show Hejkova The Door

15 December 2011

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

Natalia Hejkova
Natalia Hejkova was at the helm of Ros Casares since February

Ros Casares have parted ways with veteran coach Natalia Hejkova.

The Spanish giants, who beat Lotos Gdynia on Wednesday night to improve to 8-2 and go top of Group A in the EuroLeague Women, have appointed Roberto Íñiguez as the new coach.

The club said in a statement: "The game against Lotos Gdynia was the last for Natalia Hejkova as coach of Ciudad Ros Casares. The club and the coach have reached an agreement to end the contract.

"The Valencia outfit wishes to thank her for her dedication and her effort throughout the months she has been at the club.

"Roberto Íñiguez will replace her and will be unveiled on Thursday."

Hejkova joined Ros Casares in February, during the 2010-11 EuroLeague Women play-offs.

The club took the surprise decision to remove Jordi Fernandez, who had just steered the team to a triumph over Sopron that qualified the team for a spot in the Quarter-Finals.

Hejkova, who guided Ruzomberok to two European crowns in 1999 and 2000 and led Sparta&K Moscow Region to the first two of their EuroLeague Championships in 2007 and '08, steered Ros Casares past Bourges Basket and into the 2011 Final Four.

In Ekaterinburg, though, Perfumerias Avenida pulled away from Ros in the second half of their Semi-Final and prevailed 61-49.

Hejkova's team then fell 64-52 to UMMC Ekaterinburg.

With a host of talented new players for the 2011-12 season, Ros have been among the best teams in Spain and Europe but the team hasn't jelled as the club and Hejkova would have liked.

The club appeared to be getting on track on November 16 when they hit back from a 50-39 deficit at home to UMMC and won 60-52.

Ros then travelled to Istanbul and blew away Galatasaray, 76-46, to hand the Turkish giants their first defeat of the season.

Next was an 80-43 drubbing of Uni Seat Györ in Valencia.

But last week, Ros took the long trip to Kaunas, Lithuania, and fell in a major upset to VICI Aistes, 73-72, when Rima Valentiene hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer.

On Wednesday night, Ros were not convincing at home against Lotos Gdynia.

Hejkova's team went in front by 19 in the third quarter but strugglers Lotos fought back and pulled to within 62-54 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Ros ended up going back in front by 20 before winning by 14.

In her post-game remarks, Hejkova talked about "the future" and stressed the need for "more and more time".

Ros shortly after announced she was leaving.

Among the challenges for the new coach will be to help Australia superstar Lauren Jackson, who has had a couple of big operations in the last year, return to full fitness and find her best form for Ros Casares.

Maya Moore, the USA international who won a WNBA title with the Minnesota Lynx in the summer, is to join the team soon, too.


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