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Author Topic: ¶ Women Basketball Worldwide Stories & Free Comments • Del Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres  (Read 390104 times)
womenbball
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« Reply #20 on: Jun 30, 2012, 11:15:22 PM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

OQTW – Veterans and rising stars dominate Day 2

Priceless veteran experience and youthful exuberance reigned supreme on an intriguing and entertaining day two in the Turkish capital.

Korea reached the quarter-finals in Group C along with Croatia after a 71-65 success against Mozambique but the African side beautifully encapsulated the enjoyment of watching both players in the twilight of their respective careers and others only just starting to truly arrive on the big stage.

Clarisse Machanguana will celebrate her 40th birthday next year but was full of energy and terrific plays for the second day in a row while the future of the Mozambique frontcourt looks safe with 21 year old Leia Dongue claiming a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Argentina has a wealth of talented young players rising to prominence but it was the expert hands of 36 year old Carolina Sanchez which came up with the play of the game against New Zealand.

She grabbed the most precious rebound of her entire career during the closing stages of a nerve-shredding 54-51 victory to help her team into the quarter-finals and keep their Olympic dreams alive.

However, she was also given great support on the glass by 20 year old Agostina Burani who secured 10 precious rebounds in a hard fought game and Argentina will now fight it out for top spot in Group B with Czech Republic.




Elsewhere on day two, there was mixed fortune for debutantes Japan and France with the former crashing to a disappointing 65-49 loss against Turkey who booked their quarter-final place in front of jubilant home supporters.

France meanwhile has one foot in the last eight after a hard fought 56-47 win against Canada who should also advance thanks to their opening day demolition of under-strength Mali.

FIBA




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« Reply #19 on: Jun 25, 2012, 06:58:29 PM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Tragedy touches women’s basketball in Kenya

It’s ever so easy to get caught up in the excitement of a summer which boasts so many fascinating and exciting tournaments or perhaps to focus far too closely on the big names and elite level teams around the globe.
 
However, just occasionally, it probably does us all some good to actually reflect on how lucky we are to have this wonderful game and close-knit women’s basketball family as part of our lives.
 
Even more so when you find out about the devastating death of a young female baller who loved the sport so very much but will sadly never get to bounce another ball or get to watch any big tournaments.
 
I never knew Diana Akinyi but when reading about her death via Brian Ayieko at the excellent www.basket-in-africa.blogspot.co.uk, it was quite emotional to think of just how sad the circumstances were and the impact this has had on the entire basketball community in Kenya.
 
In what has since been dubbed the ‘Mlolongo Tragedy’, a building collapsed just over a week ago in Kenya and while 15 people survived after sustaining serious injuries, Akinyi was unfortunately one of four people who were killed in the incident.
 
She had previously played her basketball in the MTN Basketball League in Uganda with Kampala International University before returning home to play for Kenya Polytechnic or simply ‘The Poly’ as the team is affectionately known.
 
Unsurprisingly, an emotional Victor Mak’Osewe who is head coach of the team told michezoafrika.com that Akinyi would be sorely missed.

“She was one of the best defensive players and we shall really miss her,” he said.

“She was full of life, a leader and an experienced girl in the team.
 
“Her sudden death is a big blow not only to our team but to the Kenya Basketball family,” Mak'Osewe added.
 
The other reason this is a tragedy striking at the very heart of the basketball community is that her brother Davidson Olouch is also a baller who plays in the Kenyan capital.
 
I had hoped when I wrote only a few weeks ago about Cameroon guard Ramses Lonlack and the camaraderie which exists between African basketball nations that it wouldn’t be re-enforced in this very painful context.



 
This tragic loss isn’t just about Kenyan or African basketball. It’s one which certainly won't go unrecognised by the women's basketball family right around the globe – of that you can be absolutely certain.
 
Therefore I would just like to end this short but hopefully thought provoking column by offering Davidson and his family my sincere condolences and by adding that I hope basketball can in some part give him the comfort and strength to get through losing his sister who shared his passion for the sport.
 
Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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ala_bama
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« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2012, 04:39:19 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Olympic draw whets the appetite for Ankara, not just London

Reacting to the Women’s Olympic draw with five spots still to be decided at this juncture feels a little like fumbling around in the dark if I’m honest.
 
I guess there are a few things which can be teased out in this post-draw aftermath though, including the likelihood that as with every major tournament, there will be few (if any) ‘easy’ games for anybody.

Well, unless you are the USA of course who surely already have a gold medal in their hands and must simply focus on not allowing it to slip through their fingers due to a lack of hard work or focus.
 
Surely London 2012 will be all about everyone else fighting it out for the other two places on the podium and last week’s draw has done little to convince me otherwise. There will be a monumental battle for silver and bronze.
 
Granted, I could be left with egg on my face if whoever else makes it to the inevitable match-up with Geno Auriemma’s team gets lucky in the final and somehow grabs gold. If that does happen by the way, I would consider it as one of the biggest shocks in Olympic women’s basketball history.
 
I think it was always going to be the case that Russia would draw Great Britain and renew acquaintances after their brutal match-up last summer at EuroBasket Women which was as feisty a game as I have ever witnessed at the elite level.
 
Hideously ugly and ill-tempered, it spilled over into the post-game media conference as Boris Sokolovsky and Tom Maher followed in the footsteps of their respective teams by continuing the rivalry long after the final buzzer had sounded.
 
So, if there is one game I would want to see this summer it’s when these two teams go up against each other once more. Seriously, Wednesday 1 August - put it in your diary. It won’t be pretty by any means but I think Russia has a point to prove after they were almost victims of a relative giant-killing last year as they just scraped home.
 
It was very interesting that the immediate reaction of Sokolovsky after the draw was to instil Great Britain as one of the favourites and danger teams. This is something which perhaps stretches credibility to the absolute limit (and even requires a brief suspension of reality) but his comment does at least make sense in the context of the history between both teams.
 
The host nation have indeed improved and with a top quality coach like Maher at the helm, they have made gigantic strides but I don’t think being drawn in the tougher of the two pools suits them at all.
 
You really have to love the no-nonsense and phlegmatic Maher by the way. A coach who tells it like it is (and none more so than in that infamous postgame conference last summer) and didn’t fail to deliver with a typically wonderful reaction to the draw explaining: “In the end, you just have to win some games.” Well quite.
 
Sokolovsky, meanwhile, was also in the news late last week when he also dropped a sizeable bomb by leaving Svetlana Abrosimova out of his 20-player roster. I mean the national team captain not making the final 12 would have been a shock but this? It had me scanning along the names thinking there must have been a mistake. More of that for another day perhaps!
 
Like I said at the outset, there is so much still to be decided until we reach the stage where five teams leave Turkish soil in early July clutching their precious tickets to London. The general assumption is that France, Czech Republic and Turkey are best placed to make it to the British capital and I wouldn’t disagree too much with that assessment. But, until ‘A5’ and ‘B6’ are replaced in the schedule with actual team names, it’s tough to undertake a wholesome analysis of what lies in wait.
 
Outside of the Great Britain and Russia game, I think scanning down the fixtures at this stage, Australia will be the team to watch with most interest. In what will be a potential final hurrah for the likes of the legendary Lauren Jackson and with the Opals not being able to utilise the injured Penny Taylor, it is shaping up to be a real challenge for them.
 



Early match-ups with both Russia and Brazil could give an early indication as to whether they can keep their gold medal dream alive after being the bridesmaid rather than the bride so many times before.
 
Liz Cambage incidentally is one player I am banking on stepping up for Australia and I can’t wait to see her make her Olympic debut. In fact, she is the player I am looking forward to seeing more than any other on this wonderful stage.
 
So, while the 2012 Olympic draw is in the books and has done its job in whetting the appetite, I guess we will only be satisfied when the aeroplane wheels lift up heading out of Ankara and we can pour over the exciting detail of the full schedule.

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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« Reply #17 on: Apr 27, 2012, 04:39:19 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Another Global Focus for the Next 2012 WNBA Draft

As the dust settles on the 2012 WNBA draft, there’s little doubt internet search engines will have seen some serious action during the past week with fans punching in the names of the five non-American players selected in an attempt to bone-up their knowledge of the quintet.
 
Well actually, in the end it was a quartet since as has happened occasionally down the years, the draft process was subject to a slight hiccup when there was confusion as to the eligibility of a player.
 
This time it was French national team powerhouse Isabelle Yacoubou, a third round pick by current Eastern Conference champions Atlanta Dream, who was determined too old to be considered as a legitimate draft pick.
 
I have to admit that upon hearing the news my immediate reaction was that maybe there should have been a little more internet search engine usage ahead of the draft, primarily checking out her details but I guess that these things sometimes happen.
 
So, what are the prospects of those (legitimate) non-USA national WNBA draftees?
 
Damiris Dantas (Brazil)
The last pick of the first round, the Brazilian centre represents a hugely exciting choice for the Minnesota Lynx who will be able to watch the player compete at this summer’s Olympic Games in London.
 
Dantas was named MVP at the FIBA U19 World Championship last year and she is the one player who Brazil are pinning their hopes on to lead the next generation which will play from September of this year with primarily one thing in mind – delivering a medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

She certainly has the potential to be the leader for the team in four years with her power and strength inside already establishing her as an essential key player for the current senior team after incredibly impressive displays at the FIBA Americas Championship and Pan-American games last summer.
 
However, her prominence in terms of the Brazilian national team and the significance the Federation is quite rightly placing on 2016 has led some people to question whether there is any real chance Dantas would play in the WNBA during the next few summers – even if she was considered as being mature enough and ready to do so.
 
She has just finished her first season playing with Real Celta Vigo of Spain and while the team struggled in Liga Femenina, Dantas posted nice numbers. She looks to be developing into the type of player who is already rock solid in the paint and as her post moves begin to refine with time, she could potentially become a genuine world class centre.

Quite handy for Brazilian fans once Erika De Souza hangs up her basketball shoes and it will be interesting to see if she can find as much WNBA time and success as her frontcourt national team colleague.

Farhiya Abdi (Sweden)
A year ago, Farhiya Abdi wasn’t even a name widely known in European basketball circles other than by those who had closely followed the youth national team circuit and of course fans of women’s basketball in her homeland who had watched her tear it up in a big way.
 
Being drafted as the first pick of the second round by the Los Angeles Sparks completes a sensational 12 months having made the move to Frisco Brno last summer where she spent her rookie EuroLeague Women season. She also impressed for Sweden at the U20 European Championships and was nominated for the FIBA Europe Young Player Of The Year Award.
 
Her next major challenge is to try and make a successful transition to the senior national team as they try to qualify for EuroBasket Women 2013 in France in coming months. She is likely to be one of the main driving forces of an exciting Swedish side in coming years but still has a long way to go to be considered as the finished product.
 
She showed a lot of character with Brno last season in what was a tough campaign – playing over 30 minutes per game despite being just 19 years old. Her numbers weren’t as efficient as she would have liked but without a lot of options offensively, she probably had to force things a little which is never ideal and inevitably impacted on her shooting percentages.
 
Relatively dynamic on the wing, the small forward has a nice skill-set, can rebound well and I see the real test being the development of her shot selection in coming years and also consistency in her three-point shot.
 
Throughout her career she has been a reference player for her respective clubs and if she steps up to a deeper team, she will have to adapt to no longer being expected to be a high volume player in terms of minutes or executing offensively.
  
Nika Baric (Slovenia)
The point guard has been a phenomenon since she stepped onto the court and it’s little wonder she has been nicknamed the ‘female Ricky Rubio’. Before you take a look down her resume as a young player, you should prepare for your jaw to drop in astonishment.
 
This bona-fide ‘basketball wonder-kid’ had barely finished playing with toys when she first pulled a Slovenia vest during the summer of 2005 at the U16 Division B European Championships. She wasn't even a teenager - the guard treaded the boards for her country at a staggering 12 years of age.
 
Then as her incredible teenage journey continued, she stepped out for Slovenia at senior level aged just 15, was crowned an All Star MVP in her home country and last summer, she finished second top scorer for her country in their European Championship Division B campaign at the age of 16 having also been named MVP at U18 level.

To have made such an impression at a young age takes a special kind of talent, not just in terms of ability but mental toughness and ambitious drive, especially when it means a ‘child-star' missing out on many of the regular activities her peers might have been enjoying.
 
Things inevitably slowed down in terms of productivity when she signed for four-time EuroLeague Women winners Sparta&K Moscow Region Vidnoje last summer but playing alongside Becky Hammon and Seimone Augustus means her continued development certainly isn’t slowing down.
 
She has superb court vision, is a very intelligent young player and is already showing signs of being able to make smart decisions and successfully run a high level team. Rarely makes bad passes or over dribbles but she must now make herself more of an outside threat in years to come.
 
I expect big things from her in coming years and she could be a big hit in the WNBA (if she gets permission from Sparta&K to play). The Minnesota Lynx have made a great choice with Baric who will soon be in action with the Slovenian national team as they try to qualify for EuroBasket Women next year.
  
Astan Dabo (Mali)
Touted as the ‘next big thing’ (almost literally) when it comes to the Mali national team, the teenager has shown glimpses of her huge potential having dipped her toes in the water of serious international competition by way of the 2010 FIBA World Championship and last summer’s Afrobasket.
 
Unlike fellow European picks Abdi and Baric, the powerful Dabo (who was the only African player to be picked) has yet to play in elite level club competition having spent the season in the second tier of French basketball with Reims Basket.
 
But, that could all be about to change with rumours abound that she may step up to the top French league during the summer.  Certainly her profile has been raised in the wake of her new draftee status while an improved performance for Mali at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June would also catapult her further into the limelight.
 
By selecting Dabo with the ninth overall pick, it’s clear just how much Mike Thibault and the Connecticut Sun think of her and it could be a pivotal year for her both at club and national team level.




By the end of 2012, fans could have much more to research and mull over with respect to Dabo, but perhaps the best starting point would be to read the latest African Message column by my esteemed fellow writer Julio Chitunda.
 
Interestingly by the way, Dabo lined up against four of her fellow top 10 2012 WNBA draft picks three years ago when she faced Nneka Ogwumike, Shenise Johnson, Samantha Prahalis and LaSondra Barrett.
 
Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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womenbball
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« Reply #16 on: Mar 30, 2012, 11:38:53 PM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Historic Final Eight prepares to tip off

It’s finally here and it feels absolutely great. Standing in Istanbul on the eve of a historical EuroLeague Women Final Eight, my spine is tingling at the prospect of seeing a line-up which reads as a who’s who of women’s basketball.
 
Changing from a long weekend Final Four format to a five-day festival with eight participants emphasises the uniqueness of EuroLeague Women. Specifically, the vast amount of money invested in the pursuit of success and also the eclectic mix of teams, players and their respective supporters who will descend from each corner of Europe to fight it out for the coveted title.
 
Perhaps not surprisingly, my status as a so-called EuroLeague Women expert means I have been bombarded with requests asking me to predict the winner - an almost impossible task. You will have to make your own mind up as to who will succeed Perfumerias Avenida but to help you decide, here's a preview of the tournament – exclusively for Women’s Basketball Worldwide at FIBA.com!
 
Galatasaray Medical Park (Turkey)
Being EuroLeague Women hosts has proven a real curse in recent years but I think that curse is outweighed ten-fold by the charm brought by competition darling Diana Taurasi who helped Sparta&K win four titles in a row. The real curse for Galatasaray has been injuries and it has exposed their risky strategy of choosing a few stellar talented players over depth. The signature of former Fenerbahce star Taurasi was one of the most seismic events in women’s basketball history and if she twists the knife into her former team Fenerbahce in the Istanbul derby there could be fireworks. But, without the exciting skills of Alba Torrens who had her season ended with an ACL injury, Galatasaray could be missing a real ‘X-factor’player to help DT get the crowd going.

They do have the outstanding Tina Charles who is absolutely sensational under the basket while Epiphanny Prince can score and Ticha Penicheiro will create. The success of the hosts is likely to depend on the respective contributions of the supporting players including the likes of Ivanka Matic and the Turkish national team duo of point guard Isil Alben and Bahar Caglar. Meanwhile they were recently boosted by a memorable Cup win over fierce city rivals Fenerbahce.
 
Fenerbahce SK (Turkey)
As the only unbeaten team in EuroLeague Women, Fenerbahce are naturally one of the frontrunners and many people feel it will all come down to what happens in the derby game with Galatasaray although this is perhaps both foolish and disrespectful to Schio and Rivas.  They have a good base with two of the most talented Turkish players in effervescent point-guard Birsel Vardarli and legendary centre Nevriye Yilmaz. In terms of the frontcourt, Yilmaz is complimented by the machine-like efficiency of Ivana Matovic and the reliability and cameo contributions of Latvian centre Zane Tamane and naturalised Turkish forward Kristen Nevlin.
 
The biggest strength of Fenerbahce is most definitely what they have on the wings in Penny Taylor and Angel McCoughtry, two players both capable of MVP performances and real game-changers. Esmeral Tuncluer and Elina Babkina support Vardarli in the playmaker spots and overall there are few identifiable weaknesses. Coach George Dikeoulakos has felt the heat after losing the Turkish Cup and despite his proud EuroLeague Women record this season, that will all mean nothing if they don’t beat Galatasaray this time – such is life coaching in the white hot intensity of Istanbul!
 
Rivas Ecopolis (Spain)
A team with absolutely nothing to lose, the Madrid club can relax and play knowing that they could sneak up on the rails with all eyes on the big Istanbul derby and people talking about Schio after they knocked out defending champions Perfumerias Avenida. Having had trouble in Liga Femenina, a return to EuroLeague Women action will be a relief and they will be able to play freely and without the burden of expectation. Their biggest issue will be finding variety on offence since a huge percentage of plays go through American duo Essence Carson and specifically Asjha Jones who is averaging a near season double-double and is a regular target of the double-team inside.
 
What Rivas do have is real desire and a solid Spanish spine to their team in Anna Cruz who is the ultimate ‘glue’ player, veteran guard Elisa Aguilar who knows what is required, centre Laura Nichols who can match up well on defensive assignments and young Vega Gimeno. They also have a legend in Amaya Valdemoro of course although serious injury has blighted her year. One player who if given an opportunity could be a revelation is Tijana Krivacevic who arrived mid-season from Sopron and I have really liked the contribution of centre Sandra Pirsic.
 
Beretta-Famila Schio (Italy)
The Italians knocked out Salamanca to great acclaim and that alone will keep their group rivals on their toes. Perhaps their new found momentum could continue on Turkish soil and they have a nice simplistic look about them although a lack of depth could prove costly if health becomes an issue. They have the combo skills of Israeli guard Liron Cohen who can always explode at any time while the veteran Italian pairing of Laura Macchi and Raffaella Masciadri are both capable of providing an inside-outside threat. Cheryl Ford and Janel McCarville form a fearsome duo in the paint and they are always capable of controlling the glass. Perhaps the real ‘X-factor’ will be whether Schio shoot the ball well from three-point range. If they do, they could just make another big splash.
 
Ros Casares (Spain)
Before their surprise Copa Del Reina loss to Perfumerias Avenida, Ros Casares were emerging as favourites to finish top of the podium in Istanbul. Despite that loss, I still think their quality and depth mean they must have a super chance of ensuring the title remains in Spain and they most certainly can take it from their great domestic rivals. Both the backcourt and frontcourt are stacked and they certainly have an embarrassment of riches to call upon including some real legends of the women’s game in the form of Australian superstar Lauren Jackson and Ann Wauters. The former has yet to really hit the heights after arguably struggling to find her most effective role while the latter has been the most consistent factor all season long.
 
Czech Republic forward Jana Vesela and French centre Isabelle Yacoubou both provide power in the paint and efficiency on the glass while Sancho Lyttle won the title last year and adds fantastic athleticism. Laia Palau is as tough as they come in the women’s game while Sylvia Dominguez also knows what winning the title feels like having grabbed a winners medal in Ekat last year. They have lots of firepower with Shay Murphy around and of course the hugely exciting Maya Moore on the wings with Jackson. If the mentality is right and they start well, they could be a train which is difficult to slow down.
 
UMMC Ekaterinburg (Russia)
Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, the failure of Ekat to realise their potential and deliver against eye-popping levels of investment has been made worse by the fact their arch rivals in Moscow have achieved so much success. At least when they were hosts last year they didn’t have to suffer Sparta&K rubbing their noses into the dirt with a fifth straight title. Ironically, Ekat are always one of the two big favourites but after a turbulent and at times inconsistent season blighted by some injuries, they could benefit from having slightly less pressure on their shoulders this year. In fact, I have a sneaky feeling that if healthy and critically if the backcourt can fire on all cylinders, then they can do it.  
 
They have the quality and the depth for this new format. The injury to Anete Jekabsone was a blow in terms of scoring power but they have drafted in Israel points machine Shay Doron as a replacement off the bench.  Ekat’s chances are most likely to be in the hands of the irrepressible Sue Bird who will pull the strings and they have great defensive intensity in Olga Arteshina, Sandra Linkeviciene, Svetlana Abrosimova and Hana Horakova. If Deanna Nolan shoots the ball well this will be a big bonus and there’s little doubt the frontcourt is one of the best around. They have an unbelievable rotation including Sandrine Gruda, Candace Parker, Yelena Leuchanka, Maria Stepanova and Tatiana Vidmer.  They have to really prove themselves against the big teams away from the comfort of their home floor and also have to find the shots and plays to break down zone defences effectively.
 
Sparta&K Moscow Region Vidnoje (Russia)
Bidding to reach a mind-boggling sixth straight EuroLeague Women final, the most successful club in the history of the competition received a huge boost ahead of their arrival in Istanbul after Pokey Chatman agreed to hold on to the coaching reins for another season. Having secured a breathtaking four titles in a row before finishing as runners-up last year, it would have not seemed the same without the Moscow club around the table. They continually evolve and defy anybody who dares to criticise or write them off.
 
With Seimone Augustus and Candice Dupree they have two of the most productive and dangerous players around and they can be a devastating duo. They have a great mix of experience and youth on their roster. They possess veteran leadership in the form of Jelena Skerovic and the unmistakable Becky Hammon in the backcourt and Russian centre Irina Osipova.  The youth is provided via dynamic Serbian Sonja Petrovic and former FIBA Europe Young Player of The Year Nika Baric. The only disappointment is that Jelena Milovanovic will miss out due to injury. Their biggest attribute is that time and time again, they show their big game mentality by winning close games on a regular basis. Therefore if they are involved in any tight affairs, my money is always on Sparta&K!
 
Wisla Can-Pack (Poland)
With hard-nosed and talented players, a great team ethic, a super coach and some of the noisiest fans around, it’s no surprise the Krakow club made it to Istanbul. Unfortunately they have been pitched into the most difficult of the two groups which means it probably would be considered a surprise if they progress. I love the backcourt of Aussie guard Erin Phillips and Anke De Mondt who won the title last year with Avenida while Paulina Pawlak is a great back-up who gives her all for the team.
 
Ewelina Kobryn leads the team in the frontcourt while in Nicole Powell, they have one of the top performers in the tournament. She offers such a great inside-outside threat and could hold the key. I really like Wisla a lot and they made it to Final Four two seasons ago when nobody expected them to so they love defying the odds. It’s going to be tough for them but they will be highly respected and are more than capable of beating anyone if they play to their full potential and get a little bit of luck. Their ability to dictate tempo and play hard defense will be critical.



 
To summarise the anticipation surrounding this historic first Final Eight, I was so excited I woke up at 5am the day I travelled to Istanbul. My flight wasn’t until 5pm but it was simply wonderful for the first time in 30 years to remember what it felt like as a child when Christmas was approaching.
 
Good luck to all involved both on and off the court - let's get this women's basketball party started!

You can catch all the EuroLeague Women Final Eight action live on FIBATV.

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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« Reply #15 on: Mar 23, 2012, 11:50:07 PM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Smiling through the ignorance and bigotry

Remember to write it on my gravestone please - ‘Women’s basketball is the most important thing in life after family, friends and good health’.
 
For even when I have rid myself of this mortal coil, I still want to remind everyone that there are people out there for whom women’s basketball is their passion in life.
 
I just wish I could find space for a few more words to keep spreading the additional message that women’s basketball is deserving of some wider respect out there.
 
It was International Women’s Day recently and it gave me cause to stop and reflect on exactly where women’s basketball is right now. Not necessarily in terms of development within the sport itself but it’s actual standing within the wider sporting landscape and even society itself.
 
I always knew that women’s basketball was swimming against the tide in trying to change the way it is perceived by many people but it was only when I jumped in with both feet and became completely immersed in the women’s game that I truly began to realise the extent of ignorance and bigotry which (sadly) exists out there.
 
Whilst celebrating International Women’s Day is important since it is about more serious issues than sport, it also shows that it is disappointing this celebration is needed at all.
 
From my own experience having covered women’s basketball for a while now, I am still struck by the breathtaking levels of ignorance and bigotry out there. At times, it can be difficult to deal but very quickly, I have learned that you just have to rise above your gut instinct to react by screaming loudly and banging your head repeatedly against the nearest wall in frustration.
 
Faced with ignorance and intolerance, it’s all too easy to push back far too hard in such circumstances, to fight fire with fire and to get too defensive by adopting something of a siege mentality – even if it is a wholly understandable and natural reaction when something you love so much is attacked and is continually the subject of another tasteless joke.
  
I remain convinced the best response is to try to remain balanced and realistic - even when dealing with the provocative, negative or ignorant comments which get thrown scattershot in the general direction of the women’s game.
 
This is made a little easier by me accepting that a) not everyone is going to like women’s basketball, b) women’s basketball is by no means perfect and c) the women’s basketball family doesn’t help itself at times (another column for another day perhaps).
 
There’s obviously a wide spectrum of people who say negative things about women’s basketball for all kinds of reasons.
 
For the most part, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with those who have watched women’s basketball (even from a distance) and just don’t like it. Granted, I may disagree with their point of view but that is simply a matter of their personal preference.
 
When this occurs, I actually find myself eager to engage in further debate because I think women’s basketball can and most certainly should learn from people who have tried it but it wasn’t to their particular taste. After all, these people invested time and effort to watch and so they were curious / interested in the first place.
 
In addition to learning from what they didn’t like, there’s always a chance they might be willing to give women’s basketball a second chance – especially if some of the things they didn’t enjoy could be remedied.  Some things of course won’t be remedied.  For example, I accept women’s basketball isn’t for someone who thrives on watching spectacular dunks.
 
In stark contrast, there are a worryingly large number of bigots out there who you sense are still blinking from the sunshine after poking out their heads from their respective caves. Even trying to engage in reasonable conversation with those who are unashamedly sexist or homophobic for example and dismiss not only women’s basketball but women’s sport generally seems to be a waste of time.
 
These bigots seem to think of basketball as being a secondary issue and the only things they are interested in the gender of the players, the sexuality of players, the style of the uniforms and all of the things which quite frankly, I couldn’t care less about.
 
Having said that, I hate myself a little for actually mildly understanding their ability to have such strong views, perhaps because I always knew women’s basketball would be considered as a ‘soft target’ for such pathetic bilge.
 
What has surprised me most of all however has been the eye-popping number of people who have shown their downright ignorance – and not necessarily out of spite.
 
I am continually left with my mighty jaw almost hitting the floor in disbelief when someone or a group of people make judgements about women’s basketball having barely watched it, or in most cases, having never watched it at all.
 
I find myself trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, hoping their comments were well intentioned even if ill judged. One thing is absolutely for sure, I don’t think I will ever be surprised by any question or comment in these instances.
 
I get them regularly. From friends, strangers and even from people who incomprehensibly know about basketball but exclusively men’s basketball. I have had ludicrous comments including: ‘so do women have separate rules like netball?’, ‘how do they even manage to make the hoop when they shoot?’, ‘can they manage to play for 40 minutes?’, ‘I guess there aren’t professional women players?’, ‘has anyone ever blocked a shot in women’s basketball?’ ‘Do people really pay them actual money to play?’
 
The difference between the above and ‘I don’t think there is enough athleticism above the hoop’, ‘it’s not quick enough for me,’ or, ‘there are too many missed lay-ups’ is vast. I can accept these last three comments even if the last one in particular I don’t agree with and is surely the basketball version of an urban myth (I watch men’s basketball and believe me, they miss plenty of lay-ups!).
 
What probably pains me most of all is when women’s basketball is criticised or ridiculed by a minority of media colleagues or sometimes even by those working within the sport itself. People who should certainly know better and should have more respect.
 
Without hopefully turning myself into some annoying kind of ‘women’s basketball rights’ campaigner, I don’t think that asking for people to respect skilled athletes who excel in their chosen profession is too much to ask. The players really don’t deserve the sniggering and the distasteful comments I occasionally overhear.
 
Yet in spite of a regular barrage of misinformation, ignorance and intolerance, I still absolutely love being part of the women’s basketball family. It makes me more proud and determined to ensure further recognition for women players is forthcoming and that we continue to market, promote and most importantly, celebrate women’s basketball around the globe.
 
For as much as ignorance and bigotry can hurt and be frustrating, there are plenty of times when out of such situations, a smile will inevitably arise.
 
When someone asks me questions about the women’s game or is perhaps fascinated by my own obsession with it, I’m fortunate enough to be given a short window of opportunity to explain - and it’s always one I try to grasp with two hands.




Not to necessarily give women’s basketball the hard sell, but to simply speak with energy, positivity, conviction and unwavering passion about the game I love and the people within it whom I admire so much.
 
While ignorance and bigotry remains rife and may never be eliminated completely, we should never lose sight of the positives.
 
In particular, the role we all play both individually and collectively in ensuring we continue to smile together knowing we are lucky to have discovered this game and we aren’t the ones missing out!
 
Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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« Reply #14 on: Mar 12, 2012, 01:16:36 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

WNBL launch offers fresh start for women ballers in Indonesia

Amidst the glitz of a historic EuroLeague Women Final Eight later this month, it would be easy to overlook the significance of a landmark event happening on the other side of the globe.
 
For the first time since 2008, competitive women’s basketball at the senior level is back in Indonesia with the brand new Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) due to be re-launched on 14 March.
 
This is exciting news not only for women’s basketball both in Indonesia and the Asia region but also for the women’s basketball family around the globe.

It’s always a real thrill and pleasure to hear about women being given new opportunities to showcase their skills and passion for the game we all love so much.
 
The WNBL is very much the brainchild of Azrul Ananda, head of the very successful DBL High School League in Indonesia as well as the men's National Basketball League (NBL).

It will see five teams play each other for a spot in the final at the end of April with three of those teams having been resurrected from the ashes of 2008 when the last league was mothballed having run for just over 12 years.
 
Of course, with only a handful of clubs competing and lessons very much to be learned from the previous league (known as ‘The Kobanita’), it’s likely to be a project we should all watch with interest. Especially since it’s likely to be a case of the organisers needing to take baby steps and use an incremental approach to growth in order to gradually attract more teams and players each year.
 
While this first season is likely to simply test the appetite in terms of exposure to the commercial world, the media and sporting public, it would be absolutely terrific if Indonesia got behind supporting the WNBL so the desired ‘clustering effect’ is successful and it can mushroom in size and strength.
 
The direct benefit of having a new vibrant WNBL would also be potentially complimented by significant spin-offs and in particular, giving young players a more structured and aspirational pathway – something which could provide a springboard to success for the national team in the medium to longer term.
 
For despite picking up four wins from five games in the second tier of the 2011 FIBA Asian Championship for Women in Japan, the current shortcomings in terms of having a limited talent pool and experience to choose from was exposed when Indonesia had to use primarily university/college players at the Southeast Asian Games last November.
 
Having failed to win a game against a backdrop of heightened expectations, it proved to be a really tough tournament for a roster of players of whom more than half were born in the 1990s. But, nevertheless, thanks to the arrival of the WNBL, things could be about to look up.
 
With those young players who participated at the SEA gaining valuable experience and showing flashes of real promise, this will be supplemented moving forward by even younger players who will be able to map out a three-stage journey of high school competition, higher education competition and then if good enough and given an opportunity, on to the WNBL.
 
Not surprisingly, one man delighted with the development is national team head coach Bill McCammon.
 
“This is great for Indonesian women’s basketball because not having a women's national league definitely slowed down progress during the past few years” explained the play-caller.
 
“Consequently a lot of women stop playing at an early age to study full time or work.
 
“It's certainly not easy to continue continuity of the national team without a competitive national women's League.”
 
He continued: “We were fortunate to have people like Azrul Ananda, Hasan Gozali (national women's team manager and President of the Tomang Sakti Mighty Bee's Club in the WNBL) along with Perbasi (the Federation) support us for nine months training prior to last year’s Asian Championships and SEA Games.
 
“This is definitely a major step and will help a great deal in the development of women's basketball in the future.
 
“It’s exactly what is needed for the girls and women in Indonesia to play competitive games and give the national team a chance to evaluate the talent to improve and put together the various youth teams as well” added McCammon.
 
 “With the results in Japan expectations went way up for the SEA Games which were all losses but with a basket or defensive stop here or there, they could have been wins.
 



“Overall, I think Indonesian women's basketball is moving in the right direction.”
 
I am sure I won’t be the only one outside of Indonesia wishing everybody involved good luck with this new project and I certainly hope it will be a hugely successful venture!

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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« Reply #13 on: Mar 10, 2012, 01:30:35 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Legendary duo join FIBA to support International Women’s Day

The stars of women’s basketball have joined forces with FIBA in voicing their support for International Women’s Day and the continued commitment to placing women at the heart of the sport - both on and off the court.
 
Legendary duo Amaya Valdemoro of Spain and American DeLisha Milton-Jones have both backed the celebratory day along with FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann.
 
Spanish sensation Valdemoro has been one of the elite performers in world basketball over the course of a hugely successful career and, not surprisingly, she remains passionate about ensuring equality for women.
 
“We have to appreciate what women have achieved in this world, both in sports and in life,” explained the 35-year-old.
 
“Sport is an example of women fighting to be equally recognised as men because in the end, we’re the same, and we should be seen and treated the same way.
 
"The more recognisable female faces we have out there, the better it is for every woman who can feel proud.
 
“You just have to be loyal to yourself and focus on the virtues of everyone around and that’s what I do to keep growing as a person”.
 
Meanwhile, having played for almost two decades, Milton-Jones is well-placed to assess the progress women have made but was more concerned with paying tribute to those before her who paved the way for a terrific career as a pro-athlete.
 
She said: “We are more than child bearers or just moulded for designated positions in the working world. We are professionals and I absolutely love being a woman but being a woman in sports is even more special to me.
 
“I honestly have to thank anyone that has come before me because it’s their struggles and sacrifices which have afforded us the opportunities we sometimes abuse today. The best way I can pay homage to them is by giving every opportunity afforded me, my all.”
 
“For many reasons, I think women are special creatures,” continued Milton-Jones.
 
“We have come a long way but have even further to go. I long for the day when we will see more figures in high positions that represent us as women. Though there are numerous examples to date, I still feel that the percentages are too low.
 
“But, gauging from the strides we've made to this point, I feel that our future as women remains very bright!”
 
FIBA Secretary General Baumann is proud of the role the International Basketball Federation has played in supporting female players to realise their ambitions and more recently, the steps which have been taken off the court to enrich the organisation by securing more input from women.
 
“FIBA has always set up its competition system in a way that it has immediately integrated the women's game, especially in the World Championships," he said.
 
“The first Men's World Championship was in 1950 and the first one for Women in 1953. We have always been very progressive in the sense that we've been able to provide competitions for both genders from the beginning in our competitions.
 
“We have followed the lead of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in introducing a bit of female touch, brains and skills to our board. That's not always simple when you're in a male-dominated environment.

"I think diversity leads to better results than just homogeneity of only having men around the table. So in that sense, the introduction of female representatives at central boards has been good.
 
“We held a Women's Basketball Conference in the Czech Republic in 2010 where a series of recommendations came up and probably the most important one was that we, as officers of an international federation, as central board members and as heads of national federations, we need to all think a little more often about women's basketball and women in positions within basketball more than we do today.
 
“I think that was the key message and it's not very automatic in our environment to think about women's basketball when we talk about basketball in general.

"It's not simple, but that's something we absolutely need to change and it's hard work to do," Baumann admitted.
 
“On the technical side, we have worked hard and have had a lot of ups and downs, in modifying the size of the ball for the women's game so that it's slightly smaller than the men's ball but it fits or adapts better to the genetics of the women's game.”
 
Baumann, who is also a member of the IOC, remains acutely aware that the biggest challenge will continue to be guaranteeing a more equitable investment in the women’s game at national federation level.
 
“There's still a long way to go to promote women's basketball the way it - or women's sport in general - is promoted in certain countries," he conceded.
 
“For example, the United States have a very particular legislation where you have to invest equally in both genders. This is not available everywhere where results dominate and therefore if the results are coming more from the men's teams, then the money from our national members will go more into investing in the men's team than the women's teams.
 
“I think here we still have some work to do to counter that trend or at least try to figure out ways for our federations to invest more in women's basketball which can be extremely attractive.
 
“In fact, given the depth of the teams that are playing at the world level, a country that is working seriously in women's basketball has a relatively better chance to come quite fast up the ladder - not necessarily become World or Olympic champion which right now probably only three or four countries have that ability to be consistently up there. But, you can enter into the World Championship and be relatively successful if you do a little bit of good work in the women's game. We have some federations that have proved this to be the case."
  
The real positive as far as Baumann is concerned remains the players themselves and he took time to single out the contributions of Valdemoro in particular who is most definitely a role model for youngsters both in her homeland and beyond.
 
"Amaya Valdemoro has been the soul of the Spanish team for so many years. She is a role model basketball player and an athlete who sacrifices herself for the good of her team. She has done that for so many years in wearing the flag of her country," he said.
 
“She can be considered as good as - if not even better than - any male player that has done the same, especially because she comes effectively from the sport side which is probably less promoted, less mediatic and gets less attention.
 
“The fact that she has risen to being a star in her country and a respected person deserves a lot of credit because for men it's a lot simpler.
 
“If you do the work that Valdemoro has been doing in silence for her team, year in and year out despite the injuries she had as well, that's wonderful.
 
“She's also a good person, not just simply a good player so that's very important.”
 
Baumann added: "Like her, we have had others who have been able to get to that next level of being known for their qualities as basketball players but also being a role model for others, whether it's in Australia, in Russia, in the USA or Brazil.
 
“You only have to look at Hortencia or Paula for example. Those players, like Valdemoro, have clearly marked the history of women's basketball.”
 
“Most importantly, the game remains extremely exciting and we still have great female basketball representatives on the court. Additionally, there's always new players coming up and I think we will enjoy good women's competitions at the Olympic Games and beyond."



 
Perhaps the last word on this special day is best left to Valdemoro herself who quite aptly summed things up when she pointed out: “As important as this day it is, I think that the real triumph will come when 8 March comes each year and there is nothing to celebrate.
 
“Because after all, there’s no International Day For Men, right?
 
“That will be the time when we’re all truly treated equally”.

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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« Reply #12 on: Feb 26, 2012, 05:22:13 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Ten steps to success for a ‘basketball’ lottery winner

Every night before I go to bed, I usually lie awake and dream of winning the lottery. It may be horrifically shallow of me but in my defence, it isn’t a helicopter, speedboat, big house, private jet or indeed any form of so-called  ‘bling’ that I desire.
 
I just dream incessantly of having my own basketball club in EuroLeague Women. A team which has Turkish playmaker Birsel Vardarli pulling the strings in the backcourt, the legendary Ann Wauters cleaning up inside and a host of young players including the likes of Ana Turcinovic, Emma Meesseman and Astou Ndour, all continuing their impressive development.
 
But you see, there’s my first mistake.

Success in women’s basketball and indeed in most sports takes more than just a big wallet or cheque book. I now know that thanks to recently taking my ‘dream’ one stage further. Perhaps getting a little too excited and conveniently ignoring the fact I never buy a lottery ticket (something I really must rectify) I thought about what would actually happen if I did wake up one day and found millions in my bank account and I could proceed with realising my ambition?
 
The most prudent option in preparation of this (albeit unlikely) eventuality was to go straight to the very best and find out the recipe for success from a man who certainly has the t-shirt when it comes to delivering success for a prestigious club at the elite level.
 
And, the response of Sparta&k Moscow Region Vidnoje Sporting Director and General Manager Steve Costalas was typically insightful.
 
He said, “One of the first thing I learned since I have been involved in building a basketball team is that just as ‘money does not buy happiness’, ‘money does not guarantee creating championship  teams”

“My latest and surely my greatest teacher, the late Shabtai Von Kalmanovic was a firm believer that while money helps, it is not the main ingredient of success.
 
“Look at Zalgiris who under his helm dominated Europe. I mention this as proof that Shabtai's philosophy works because even though he had a small budget, Zalgaris won the Saporta Cup and Euroleague" added Costalas.
 
“I hate it when people say that Shabtai helped win trophies because of the money. It is important to show that money is not everything.”
 
“Since his loss and the subsequent reduction of our resources at Sparta&k which now is not anymore within the top tier of Euroleague Women budgets, it’s thanks to the principles he preached that Sparta&k has still been able to retain its status as one of the top teams in Europe.”
 
Having played a central role at the four-time EuroLeague Women champions for many years, he also kindly gave me a ten point plan for success – and it’s one which I simply must share with you.
 
So, in his very own words, here is what Costalas firmly believes are the ten steps of building a top basketball team.

1. Family spirit
I always thought that the Sparta&k's anthem should had been "We are family" sung by Sister Sledge. In Sparta&k, we try to create a ‘family’ environment and select such players that will feel like Sparta&k is their home away from home. That is why all the players that have been here are our best ambassadors.

2. Firm leadership
You have to have management and a coaching staff able to succeed with the task in hand. There is no way you can succeed without having the right people who can lead, assist, serve, command and motivate players to becoming the best they can be.

3. Chemistry
This is the basis of any great team. It’s not important to buy the most expensive players. You must sign the ‘right’ players, the players who not only compliment each other, but also make each other better. But at the same time, you may select the best ingredients but if you do not have a good chef and a good oven, then the food will be a flop.

4. Research
Looking at a few tapes and trusting an agent is not enough. Sometimes you have to go two to three teams back in history to try to learn as much as possible about a player. There’s always ‘small stuff’ that can make a big difference in your decision.

5. Money
It's not the main ingredient but it sure helps.  But, honestly, when an owner says: "spend as much money as you want but you have to win a title" that is the worst thing a general manager and/or coach can hear. And for sure, nothing good will come out of it.

6. Winning attitude
You need players who have been on winning teams, players you accept a loss as part of the game but do their best for that not to happen again. You need players you like being in the team. A winning team can’t be built by signing mercenaries and players who do not know there is no "I" in the word "team". That is why whenever a player has not been happy, I have made sure she finds happiness - elsewhere.

7. Instinct
Sometimes you have to listen to that little voice inside. There have been times when after talking with a player or finding out something otherwise trivial, I have made a decision which at the end worked out. Time helps one increase the volume of that voice and while it should not govern you, it can be helpful.

8. Control
Never panic. When things go wrong - and there will be times they will go wrong, don’t make knee / jerk reactions. When in trouble, sit back and count to ten, re-evaluate your choices and see what can be done. If you calmly decide things, you will actually make things better. Never make moves just to be able to say "I did something".

9. Humility
Never forget there are up and downs in life and what goes around comes around. You must always treat all your opponents as equals and you never must look down on them. Respect is earned not won and nobody likes a bully!

10. Luck
All of the above are great but if you’re not lucky, then no matter what you do. you will not get the expected results. A couple of injuries after the registration deadline is a great example. After all, everybody in the Titanic was healthy but certainly weren’t lucky.



 
Thanks to this wonderful insight from Costalas, it’s probably now going to take me an extra 20-30 minutes to fall asleep each night. For he’s given me nine other things to worry about and plan for in addition to the money element.

The biggest piece of advice he gave me though? Well not suprisingly, to actually start buying a lottery ticket!

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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« Reply #11 on: Feb 01, 2012, 08:49:33 PM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Last European Olympic gold medallist still going strong

As we head towards the London Games, it’s definitely worth taking a moment to pay homage to Elena Baranova who remains the only European Olympic gold medallist who is still active on the court at the elite level.
 
In addition to celebrating the memories of winning gold with the Commonwealth of Independent States some twenty years ago in Barcelona, it’s certainly worth applauding her longevity in a career which has seen plenty of success and is still going strong.
 
Playing in the Russian Superleague with BC Chevakata where she is the club captain, she recently helped her team into the quarter-finals of EuroCup Women and showed just how durable she is by celebrating a landmark 40th birthday last Saturday.
 
Landmarks are something the highly decorated Baranova knows all about. After all, she was the first Russian and indeed the first overseas player to set foot in the WNBA where she played for many years in addition to some 21 seasons in Europe.
 
Her list of accomplishments since she made her debut back way back during 1988 is simply incredible. From finishes on the FIBA World Championship and EuroBasket Women podiums at national team level to club championships and individual accolades at all levels including captaining Russia, All Star status and being crowned European Player Of The Year and FIBA World Championship MVP.
 
You name it, and the likelihood is, Elena Baranova will have it stamped on a resume which is even longer and more decorated than 99% of women players could ever dream of achieving. So what has been the secret of her longevity and has she achieved everything she wanted to?
 
“I just played basketball and didn’t think about time” is how Baranova explained her success tothe Bison basketball internet channel (yatv.ru/bisontv).
 
She added, “Eating the right food and a good sleep helps the body and a desire to play helps the mind.”

Having played for over two decades, you could probably have expected her to have had to evolve her game and yet with beautifully simplicity once again, she dismissed this notion.

She said, “I don’t think I had to change my game. My goal is still the same – to win every game I play.
 
“Every time I step on court I have to do anything for my team to win.
 
“The only difference is that to keep playing at the top level, I have to work on my physical conditions -almost every day.
 
“That’s what I would call 'The meaning of age'  

"I would still love to return to the WNBA. Even now. The WNBA Championship ring is the one thing I am missing."
 
While her own game hasn’t needed to change too much , it would be remiss of us not to consider how the Russian legend feels the game in general has changed over the years.
 
She said, “Basketball became more individual and those who take more shots are considered the stars.
 
“Basketball also became more athletic - players run 100 metres like pro-sprinters, jump like high jumpers, fighting for position like wrestlers.
 
“The ball has been changed – although I keep considering it a minus since a smaller size ball is much more difficult to catch and it forces a bigger amount of turnovers.
 
“I think playing with a men’s size ball is much easier and more interesting” explained Baranova,
 
“The deeper three-point line also gives more space for manoeuvres and more freedom has appeared under the rim.”
 
So while the women’s game has certainly changed over the last twenty years, Baranova has continued to prove class and longevity are a combination all young players should be thinking about not later in their respective pro-careers but right now.

Elena Baranova is a role model of epic proportions and if the current young guns out there think she’s an exception, they should also look to the likes of 41 year old Taj McWilliams. She recently played for EuroCup Women champions Elitzur Ramla and has just been acquired by EuroLeague Women participants Wisla Can Pack Krakow to underline just what a great influence and attraction an experienced player can be nowadays at the top level.



 
On the topic of which, only last week, 37 year old Delisha Milton-Jones became the first non-European player to score 2,500 points in EuroLeague Women and only the fourth in the history of the competition to do so – another phenomenal achievement from one of the elite veterans out there still shining so very brightly as they have done for so many years.

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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« Reply #10 on: Dec 21, 2011, 02:41:26 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

McCoughtry in tune on and off the court

She's hot property on the court and now Angel McCoughtry is hoping she can be just as much in demand when it comes to her music career.
 
The USA women's national team player known is bidding to find success away from the floor having released her single 'Baby I'm A Star' on iTunes as she tries to match her achievements on it.
 
"I have always loved music and it has always been a big part of me" explained McCoughtry.
 
"Basketball is still my number one but last summer I decided to really get into my music."
 
Any fans of Team USA or supporters of her club side Fenerbahce should forget any notion of the 25-year-old losing focus now that she is immersed in music as well as basketball with the player quick to underline her discipline in keeping the two separate.
 
She said: "It's not easy maintaining two careers but it keeps you busy and it's a lot of fun. I usually record on off days and I don't ever let music interfere with my basketball.
 
"These are two really good outlets for me and I would probably sum it up like this - I' m not an athlete trying to do music since on the court I'm a basketball player and in the studio, I'm an artist."
 
"The two are not to be combined" added McCoughtry.
 
Further proof of music having a positive impact on the forward is evidenced by her blistering performances in EuroLeague Women. One of the form players of the tournament so far, she has helped Fenerbahce maintain the only unbeaten record in the competition this season.
 
With arch rivals Galatasaray also bidding to finish top of the podium after significant investment including the acquisition of McCoughtry's USA team-mates Diana Taurasi and Tina Charles, the intensity has never been quite as fierce in Istanbul.
 
"The closest rivalry I can even try to compare it to back in the States is maybe Louisville versus Kentucky," explained the Baltimore native.
 
"But only here in Turkey, it's at least three times more intense!"
 
From a national team perspective, talk of a women's 'Dream Team' next year in London is getting McCoughtry excited and particularly off the back of a strong showing in the Czech Republic last year.
 
She said: "I am so honoured to have been a part of the FIBA World Championship Women tournament.
 
"I feel in my relatively young career, I couldn't have experienced anything better and that's why my expectations for London 2012 are so high.
 
"The ultimate exposure for women's basketball is the Olympics."
 
She continued: "The great thing about playing for the USA is that we have some of the best athletes in the world.



 
"It's hard because there is just so much talent."
 
From watching her performances for both club and country, the majority of rivals are queuing behind McCoughtry.
 
Meanwhile when it comes to her music career, she still has work to do as an aspiring artist although few would back against her finding success.

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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« Reply #9 on: Nov 29, 2011, 11:07:15 PM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Defying death threats: the ultimate love for basketball

Most of us are guilty of using the word courage far too readily, perhaps when praising a player who takes the full force of an offensive charge or is willing to play through the pain barrier when injured.

However, true courage is something altogether less trivial.

It’s something which strikes at the very heart of what it’s like to stand up for what you believe in and, in the case of Suweys Ali Jama and Aisha Mohamed, putting your life on the line every single day just so you can continue to play the game that you love.

In one of the most moving and eye-opening stories I have read in a long time, the Somalian national team duo have lifted the lid on being targeted by religious militants who have threatened them and tried to stop them from playing.

These religious militants, who don’t believe women should be allowed to participate, issued a chilling ultimatum to the pair to either stop playing and live or continue to play and be killed.

Defiant, the players chose a third option - to stand up and show their bravery by continuing to play and ignoring the threats as best they can.

Speaking from Mogadishu, Suweys Ali Jama told IPS Africa: “I will only die when my life runs out - no one can kill me but Allah. I will never stop my profession while I am still alive.”

Aisha Mohamed, who is the deputy captain, elaborated on the terrifying phone calls the two players have been receiving.

"They explained: ‘You are twice guilty. First, you are a woman and you are playing sports, which the Islamic rule has banned. Second, you are representing the military club who are puppets for the infidels. So we are targeting you wherever you are,’ the Islamists warned me during phone calls.

“But I am still clinging to my profession. I am a human being and I have fear, but I know that only Allah can kill me.”

Indeed it’s not only these two who have had to endure the glare of an unwanted and potentially lethal spotlight since reports from the Somali capital are that the team is having to prepare for next month’s Arab Games in a bullet-ridden police academy compound for additional security.

Even without such sinister threats, it would be difficult enough to successfully play basketball in a country which has been ravaged by armed conflict, political turmoil and where resources for sport are scarce.

Not surprisingly, Somalia's National Basketball Federation is frustrated that whenever things begin to look up for women’s basketball in the country, something potentially devastating occurs to set things further back. Understandingly, many players have drifted away from the game because of the murderous shadow which continues to linger.

While not insensitive about the need to show respect for the thorny issues of religion, politics and culture which inevitably impact upon our sport, threatening someone because they are a simply a woman and want to play basketball seems abhorrent.

I would therefore like to pay tribute to Suweys Ali Jama and Aisha Mohamed by sincerely apologising for every time I have flippantly used the word courage when commentating or writing about the game.

Meanwhile, for those who believe my passion for women’s basketball is intense, please think again. I could only ever dream of having this kind of passion for women’s basketball.

Suweys Ali Jama and Aisha Mohamed are inspirational people and I am sure many players, coaches and fans of the Women’s game will join me in echoing that sentiment.




Women’s Basketball Worldwide stands and applauds you both for your incredible courage and we can only hope you manage to realise your dreams in quite deplorable and for most of us, unimaginably difficult circumstances.

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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mariza_coach
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 02, 2011, 05:59:37 PM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

The beauty beneath the headlines in Turkey

It’s most definitely boom-time for Women’s Basketball in Turkey and best of all, there’s no sign of a potential bust on the horizon to dampen the current buzz.
 
Building on the momentum of being unveiled as hosts of the 2014 FIBA World Championship Women, the National Team proceeded to scoop an unexpected silver medal at EuroBasket Women during the summer which also catapulted them into the London 2012 Olympics.

Furthermore, on Tuesday, Turkey were announced as one of three countries - Argentina and the Czech Republic are the other two - bidding to host the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for Women that will take place from 25 June-1 July.
 
At club level, the interest generated by superstar Diana Taurasi switching from Fenerbahce to Galatasaray in arguably the most controversial and lucrative player transaction in the history of the Women’s game was epic.
 
Then, an already supercharged and thrilling year was given another adrenalin rush when FIBA Europe declared the inaugural and prestigious EuroLeague Women Final Eight tournament would be hosted in Istanbul during March of next year.
 
So, while Women’s Basketball in Turkey doesn’t exactly need any further boost, that won’t stop me from highlighting another major cause for celebration.
 
If you read the small print behind the headlines of medal success, the arrival of some serious ‘A-Listers’ to the Turkish league and the magnetism Istanbul has for attracting major basketball tournaments, you will find exciting details of a bunch of young Turkish players preparing to write headlines of their own during years to come.
 
One such player is 16-year-old centre Tilbe Senyurek who has already set pulses racing amongst those lucky enough to have witnessed her raw potential with many observers tipping her to make it to the very top.
 
Trusted with the hugely important task of safeguarding her progression at Botas Spor where the player is currently based and ready to sample life in EuroCup Women, is head coach Olcay Orak.
 
Orak admits to feeling a powerful sense of responsibility to the starlet and also to Turkish basketball generally as he prepares to continue making sure she finds the right path through the various youth levels to eventual stardom with the senior Turkish National Team.

”When you take her age into consideration, she’s the most talented of all players,” he said.
 
“I’m very excited about her potential because she is going to be the best player for Botasspor and in Turkish Women’s basketball.

”I’m highly aware of my position and role. I have a very important responsibility for not only Tilbe, but also other young players of the team.
 
“I want to give all my experience to her, not only in terms of basketball but also life. She should want to work very hard.”
 
Born in 1995, Senyurek follows in the footsteps of a string of other promising players who have the capacity to form and exciting future. Even just from the 1993 generation, the trio of Olcay Cakir, Ayse Cora and Olge Kavurmacioglu have already been practicing every day at club level against world class players and have even managed to find some limited court time at the highest level.
 
Orak describes the emergence and subsequent development of young Turkish players as a ‘movement’ within the country, claiming coaches and clubs need to come together to make sure the big name stars support rather than prevent young players from evolving.
 
“As can be seen in my own team roster and also many others, we are highly supportive of this movement in Turkey," he pointed out. "I believe the young players can play next to the big names.”

”If we want to develop women’s basketball in Turkey, we should all serve as role models for our young players by taking part and especially if we are part of big organisations.”
 
As for Senyurek herself, she’s currently trying to recover from some injuries which have affected her during the summer and this early part of the season.
 
Genuinely appreciative of the recognition which is beginning to come her way, she reminded us all that her tender age is not a barrier to reaching for the sky and one day fulfilling her enormous potential.
 
“I have to say thanks to those people thinking about me with confidence like this” she said.
 
“I want to play against the big European teams and one day become a player like Nevriye Yilmaz.”
 
“In fact, I would like to aim to be even better than her if I can,” she smiled.
 
Whether she manages to become the next big thing remains to be seen. But for now at least, everyone involved with Turkish basketball should be excited.



 
From what I can see, the small print reads so beautifully well and is every bit as joyful and intriguing as the headlines which we are getting accustomed to seeing in this vibrant Women’s basketball nation.

Paul Nilsen from FIBA



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crawler212
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« Reply #7 on: Mar 12, 2011, 03:55:55 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

FIBA Central Board ~ GB Olympic Decision,
2014 Women Host Country Top Central Board Agenda

GB Olympic decision, 2014 Women host country top Central Board agenda
The decision whether or not to grant Great Britain an automatic place at the 2012 London Olympic Basketball Tournament and the awarding of the host country for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women top the packed agenda of the FIBA Central Board meeting, to be held in Lyon on Saturday and Sunday (12-13 March 2011).

With Great Britain not a member federation of FIBA, GB received special exemption to allow them to compete in London, but the world governing body requires that Team GB prove their competitiveness and provide a solid legacy for the sport in Britain in order to grant them automatic qualification.

The Central Board will examine a legacy plan submitted to them by British Basketball before deciding whether or not to award GB’s men and women’s teams places as ‘hosts’, thereby sparing them of having to qualify.

The bidding process for several events come to a conclusion this weekend, with the host countries for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women and the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship for Men and Women being decided.

For the 2014 Women’s World Championship it will be a straight pick between Turkey and Australia. Lithuania, who are the only country remaining bidding for the U17 men’s event, should be confirmed as the 2012 hosts, while the Central Board will decided between the Netherlands and Romania for the women’s event.

Also up for discussion during the two-day meeting is a proposed road map for the development of 3on3 basketball, the FIBA sanctioned version of the three against three format played on a standard half-court. This will include plans for the development of top-level competition, an innovative individual ranking system and ambitions for the new format to receive Olympic status, being included as a demonstration sport as early as 2016.




The results of the Central Board meeting will be announced during a press conference to be held on Sunday 13 March 2011 following the conclusion of the meeting, which is scheduled to end at 18:00 CET. The press conference will be streamed live on fiba.com.

from FIBA



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natalbom
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« Reply #6 on: Mar 01, 2011, 02:09:02 AM »

Women Basketball Worldwide & Free Comments • Baloncesto Femenino Universal & Comentarios Libres

Manchester to host first-ever WNBA game in Europe

The NBA is currently running ‘Basketball Week’ in the United Kingdom and on Monday had great news for basketball fans in the city of Manchester with the announcement of a multi-year partnership that will provide them with the opportunity to catch live action from the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) as well as the USA men’s and women’s teams.

On 29th May, the Manchester Evening News Arena (MEN) will play host to “WNBA Live – Manchester 2011”, marking the first time in the league’s 15-year history that a game is played in Europe. 2010 WNBA finalists Atlanta Dream will face an opponent to be named at a later date.

The Dream boast a number of leading international players. Angel McCoughtry (pictured), the 2009 WNBA Rookie of the Year, helped the USA to a gold medal at last summer’s FIBA World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic. Her Dream team-mates include Sancho Lyttle – who took bronze with Spain in Karlovy Vary – and Iziane Castro Marques of Brazil.

The partnership will also see USA Basketball men’s and women’s national teams – both gold medal winners at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – play a Global Community Cup tour game in July 2012 at the MEN as part of their preparations for the London Olympics.

Finally, in the autumn of 2013, the first-ever NBA pre-season game played in the UK outside of London will take place.

“We are delighted to bring NBA, WNBA, and USA Basketball games to the internationally renowned sports city of Manchester.  This comprehensive schedule of premier basketball events will help grow the sport for years to come,” said NBA Europe Senior Vice President Sophie Goldschmidt.

“This partnership shows our ongoing commitment to deepen basketball’s footprint in the country.”

“Manchester has a rich sporting heritage, so it is fitting to be welcoming the NBA to the City for this ground breaking series of events,” said Councillor Michael Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture and Sport.




Basketball fans in the UK can get their fix for the game with NBA Basketball Week – which consists of activities and clinics held in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Sheffield – culminating in a double-header between the Toronto Raptors and the New Jersey Nets at the O2 Arena on Friday and Saturday 4th and 5th March.

from FIBA



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