|04 April 2013|
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2013
|Quanitra Hollingsworth has declared herself available to play for Turkey this summer|
With the participation of injured star Nevriye Yilmaz at EuroBasket Women still in doubt, Turkey have been given a huge boost after Quanitra Hollingsworth declared her intention to suit up again.
Speaking to the Turkish Federation website after recently being crowned a champion at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight in Ekaterinburg, the naturalised Hollingsworth underlined her desire to pull on a Turkish vest once again.
"I can't wait to re-join the national team and move towards a common goal," said the center, who averaged 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in the British capital last summer.
"I have followed my team-mates and they have all had a good season.
"New and younger players will join us in full confidence that we will be a very strong team once again.
"In May, our team spirit will continue, along with the start of our preparations" added Hollingsworth.
The 25-year-old became the first Turkish passport holder to win the EuroLeague Women title and did so for hosts UMMC against Turkish opposition in the form of Fenerbahce. She was however quick to express the opinion that the Final was not as one-sided as the 82-56 result suggested.
"It was my first time playing at the EuroLeague Women Final Eight and it was really incredible," said Hollingsworth.
"We went out and won the game and we had plenty of experience. Our fan support was also a major advantage.
"It's not easy to win against Fenerbahce. They definitely have depth in their squad which is very important and they are respected by everyone."
She continued, "The Final game was not a true indication of the difference.
"But I must say that we prepared for it all year and by becoming the EuroLeague Women champions, we reached our goal."
Hollingsworth got the opportunity to go to Russia because of her Turkish citizenship and added that playing for her adopted nation had helped her make the step up and compete in a highly competitive UMMC frontcourt rotation.
She said, "Last summer, playing with the national team gave me the confidence to obtain this success in my individual career.
"I will continue to move forward on the right track"
Quite whether that means getting onto the podium in France could hinge on the fitness of her partner in the paint.
With a spot at the FIBA World Championship next year already secured due to their status as host nation, it could prove a difficult decision for Turkey in respect of whether they get their star player back on board and how much Yilmaz is potentially able to play.
On the other hand, Turkey can't be too choosy or cautious since they aren't exactly stacked with proven forwards and centers - one of the reasons they initially turned to Hollingsworth.
Equally, they will know it's a wide-open tournament and the possibilities of another podium finish will be strong if there is any scope to utilise the vastly experienced and classy Yilmaz.