This month, I was able to visit the women's finals
of Euroleague, only this time not as a participant-player, and
as a columnist and journalist (Photo - Julia Fedoseev).
My team, "Avenida" missed the final
eight, so the schedule we have formed two weeks of free time
without the games. Our coach decided to give the whole team
a few days of rest before the semi-final matches, so I was
able to fly to Istanbul for a crucial stage of the Euroleague.
This year's FIBA changed the formula of the final
stage, as you know, this time it was attended by eight best
teams, which were divided into two groups. Each team had to
play with all the contestants in their group, and those who
up to this mini-group tournament ranked first met in the final
game for the "gold", fought for second place "bronze"
and so on. The teams had no room for error if you lose, it is
almost impossible to calculate the final place in the Euroleague.
Euroleague Final Eight left me with a mixed
impression. On the one hand, pain due to injury (Maria Stepanova),
on the other hand, the surprise success of "Rivas"
I think that this new formula is less successful
than usual Final Four. Especially that final eight passes closer
to the end of the season, when all the girls are under heavy
pressure, and it is very difficult physically to a very high
level four games (new formula) instead of the usual two.
Hence the injury.
To everyone's chagrin, Maria Stepanova tore
cruciate ligament of the knee. This is a very severe injury,
will have to recover at least 6 months, so that Mary does not
get to the Olympics. This is definitely a big loss for the
Russian team, without Stepanova, we will be hard in London,
because it over the years is the main pivot command.
By the way, such as injuries to Penny Taylor and
the Italian basketball player, of "Schio." Sue Bird,
too, suffered in Istanbul - she once again broke his nose in
a strange situation in the warm-up before the first game c «Ros
Casares." Because of this unpleasant incident Ekaterinburg
club lost the main point guard and played the Spanish team,
thus losing the chance to get to the finals. Therefore, this
tournament was very memorable in terms of injuries. Of course,
the injury - is part of the sport, but not so serious and so
many in a row in one tournament!
This year our Russian clubs were unsuccessful
in the Euroleague. UMMC with its stellar composition was
to be the final and become the champion, but, despite all predictions,
the Ural club became only the third. "Sparta&K"
finished sixth in Euroleague. After an injury Ira Ospovova team
from outside Moscow strongly felt gap in the positions of center.
But a surprise team "Rivas." Do not
hide, the Spanish team was the underdog, but in the Final Eight
beat everyone in their group. "Rivas" did not stand
out stellar composition and won only through the protection
and command successful game Elisa Aguilar, the main point guard
for Spain, and Achsa Jones, who was recognized as a result of
the Final Eight MVP.
As part of "Avenida" I met with three
"Rivas" and beat them three times, with a difference
of 20 points. Of course, very sorry that we lost against "Schio"
a decisive step for reaching the Final Eight, I think, in
Istanbul, we would have a chance.
Very disappointed "Galatasaray".
Despite the large budget, the fact that this club was the host
of the Final Eight, and Diana Taurasi's efforts, "Galatasay"
made a failure. In the "Galatasaray" as there is a
big problem with the pivot position.
In the finals of Euroleague met two Spanish teams
- "Rivas" and "Ros Casares," is evidence
of a high level of Spanish basketball. Of course, the
result was predictable, everyone understood that "Ros Casares'
win, but" Rivas "resisted to the end and behaved very
Throughout most of the tournament, I commented
on matches for "NTV +" with Dima Garanenko. I
thank him for having given me the opportunity to try yourself
as a commentator. For me it was not just fun - to talk about
basketball, but also a very interesting experience.
In conclusion, the Euroleague Final Eight left
me with a mixed impression. On one hand, pain due to the injury
of my friend Masha, on the other hand, the surprise success
of "Rivas", and, third, I was very glad to meet friends
and acquaintances I didn't meet since a long time.