|Candace Parker will be back on UMMC's EuroLeague Women roster for the Final Eight |
UMMC Ekaterinburg have announced they have opted to play in-form Candace Parker instead of Sue Bird at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight, whilst Cindy Lima has inked a deal with play-off participants Uni Györ until the end of the season.
Tournament favourites Ekat had been widely expected to utilise Bird when they host the Final Eight next month in a backcourt partnership with Diana Taurasi. However, due to eligibility restrictions, this meant there would be no place for Parker.
And, with the forward in sensational form this season and averaging a superb 16.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and three assists per game, head coach Olaf Lange has chosen to go with Parker instead of Bird.
He explained: "After much consideration and discussion, we decided that the best decision for the team at the Final Eight will be Diana Taurasi and Candace Parker.
"It was very difficult to make such a decision, as both Sue Bird and Candace Parker make an invaluable contribution to the team.
"After the analysis of our games in the EuroLeague Women during the season using different structures, we felt it was the best decision to move the team forward."
UNI GYÖR ADD CINDY LIMA
Uni Györ meanwhile have made it to the second phase of the competition despite losing a number of frontcourt players, including the likes of Chalysa Shegog who left to play for Toulouse Metropole Basket in the French League and also Latvian national team star Ieva Kublina who is now with Fenerbahce.
And, it will be Kublina and Fenerbahce who Györ will play next week in the play-offs, as they bid to pull off a real shock and make it to the Final Eight in Ekaterinburg.
The arrival of Lima should certainly help refuel and bolster Györ under the basket since she not only brings vast experience, she should prove invaluable on the glass.
She showcased her rebounding capabilities last summer when she averaged an impressive 9.6 rebounds per game for the Spanish national team en route to sealing a place at EuroBasket Women.
The 31-year-old started the season in the competition with EuroLeague Women rookies Tarsus Belediye, but only played a couple of games before leaving the club by mutual consent.