|Farhiya Abdi was sensational for Brno in the win over Prague, giving a positive outlook for the approaching EuroLeague Women season |
The season is young in the Czech Republic ZBL, but already there is a spark that was sorely missing in the 2011-12 campaign.
BK Imos Brno served notice this week that they mean business.
The club, still led by veteran coach Jan Bobrovsky, won convincingly against their Czech rivals ZVVZ USK Prague to go top of the standings with six wins and just one defeat.
Brno had a 50-28 stranglehold on proceedings by half-time and ended up prevailing, 79-62.
If Brno believed they could beat their rivals, they may not have thought the triumph would be as convincing.
But it was.
"For the girls, it's a big boost," Bobrovsky said.
"And even for the coaches, it's encouraging."
Prague had only just beaten Brno, 78-68, in their first meeting of the season the week before.
"We did not play well at all and we did not shoot well then," Brno forward Tereza Pecková said.
"But we still didn't lose by that much.
"So we said that if we could improve our defense and hit some shots, we could cause them problems.
"Everybody gave 110%, believing that we could beat them."
Defending champions USK Prague certainly didn't expect to fall by such a wide margin.
Their lack of fire on defense in the first half infuriated losing coach Ivan Benes.
"I had to raise my voice a little (at half-time)," he said.
"I usually discuss tactics during the break, but this time it was much more about motivation.
"I said that we would not go down like sheep to the slaughter, and that we wanted to play better in the second half so that we wouldn't have anything to be ashamed of.
"To some extent, we were successful, although we still suffered a heavy defeat."
There are many differences between last year's Prague team and the one competing this season.
For starters, Benes is now the head coach and not Lubor Blazek, the boss of the national team.
There are also numerous players who have left the club and a lot of new faces.
For Brno, the changes may not have been as dramatic yet there is one alteration that is clearly going to make a significant difference.
|Veteran Hana Horakova is leading by example in Brno, inspiring the young players around her|
The return of former 2010 FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year Hana Horakova has made this team better, especially on defense.
Bobrovsky describes his veteran playmaker as a "workhorse" and says "others want to follow her example."
Statistically, she was a giant in this win with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Young Sweden international Farhiya Abdi also had herself quite a game, scoring 26 points.
The sight of Prague to Abdi is like a bull seeing red because she has been unstoppable in their two encounters so far, averaging 27 points.
The teams will next week make their EuroLeague Women bows for the 2012-13 campaign.
Brno travel to Hungary to face Uni Györ and Prague are at home to Perfumerias Avenida.