Illustration photo – Match of the 12th round of Group A of the European Women's Basketball League: USK Prague – Fenerbahce Istanbul, January 31, 2023, Prague. From left, Teja Oblaková from USK Prague and coach Natália Hejková.
Prague – The basketball players of USK Prague will finish the regular part of the European League with a home match against Bologna on Wednesday. Although they are already certain of progressing from the second place of Group A before the match of the final 14th round, they want to get in the mood with a victory before the quarter-finals. They can count on the recovered Spaniard María Condeová or Veronika Šípová. On the other hand, the sick Simona Sklenářová and Tereza Halátková, who broke her leg, will be missing.
Photogallery: European Women's Basketball Cups
< img class="aligncenter" src="/wp-content/uploads/d0af92961d3d60bc6b8135294b079cb3.jpg" alt="Basketball players of USK Prague will close the basic part of the Euroleague at home with Bologna" />
< img class="aligncenter" src="/wp-content/uploads/a6821d1955d83281306055262156baf8.jpg" alt="Basketball players of USK Prague will close the basic part of the Euroleague at home with Bologna" />
“I when our placement is decided, we go into it with full concentration. We want to play a good match before the playoffs, get in a good mental mood and send a positive signal to the elimination fights,” coach Natália Hejková told ČTK.
The women from Prague are one point ahead of Valencia and Bourges in the table. Despite a possible defeat, they should remain in second place either thanks to a better mutual or general score. The third team from Group B awaits them in the quarterfinals. So far Salamanca with Julia Reisinger, but the order can still change. We don't just want Mersin, we wouldn't want to travel to Turkey. Then it doesn't matter,” said Hejková.
The quarter-finals are played over two winning matches, the duels will take place on March 14, 17 and 22. Thanks to second place, USK should play the first and possibly the third game at home. “It's an advantage, but at the same time it's also mentally demanding, because you have to win the first game. In the playoffs, it has already been shown several times that the opening duel is a chore. But I hope we can do it, no matter who we play,” she said Hejková.
With a balance of five wins and eight defeats, Boloni is sixth in the group and has no chance of advancing to the quarterfinals. The team is led by Latvian Kitija Laksa, who averages 16.2 points per game. The other four players also have double-digit points.
“It is not the weakest team in the group. It is an opponent that can surprise and has many renowned shooters. The only problems it has are in defense. If we let them shoot, they are almost unstoppable. We must not give them a chance to feel that they could win something. It will all be about our defense,” declared Hejková.
In addition to the traditional American supports Brionna Jones and Alyssa Thomas, the Slovakian coach will once again have the Spaniard Conde at her disposal , who has recovered from an ankle injury. Šípová, who has been working on her knee for a long time, could also play.
“But we are not 100% this time either. Sklenářová has again caught a virus and we also have one broken leg. Tereza Halalátková was injured while training in Athens. Although it seemed that it could only be a sprain, in the end there is also a fracture,” added Hejková.
USK's match with Bologna will start in Prague's Královka hall at 19:00.