Will some serious summer roster surgery get CCC Polkowice back on track?
POLKOWICE (EuroLeague Women) – It has been an up and down time of late for CCC Polkowice, but having safely negotiated the EuroLeague Women Qualifiers after a summer of change, it looks like they might be in a good position to push forwards.
History: This is the fifth season in the past seven that Polkowice will compete in EuroLeague Women, having first appeared in 2012. However, they did play in the FIBA Europe Cup for Women as far back as 2002-03 and also in EuroCup Women.
Major arrivals: George Dikeoulakos, Elena Dikeoulakou, Alysha Clark, Bria Holmes, Artemis Spanou, Antonija Sandric, Temi Fagbenle.
Major departures: Maros Kovacik, Mariona Ortiz, Noemie Mayombo, Marija Rezan, Raisa Musina, Jamierra Faulkner, Isabelle Harrison, Valeriya Musina.
Players to watch: Theresa Plaisance has set the pace early with some big displays in the Qualifiers and should post a strong campaign, while Great Britain’s Temi Fagbenle will be a belated arrival as she has been undertaking business with Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA Play-Off Finals.
The center will make her EuroLeague Women debut and this will be very interesting. She will perhaps combine with Greece national team standout Artemis Spanou, whose tireless work ethic and defensive capabilities provides another anchor inside the paint. There is further strength added by way of naturalized Israel star, Alysha Clark.
Flashback: It was a great first season in this competition as CCC made the Final Eight in Ekaterinburg during 2012 when they were able to call on the services of Spanish legend Laia Palau, as well as current EuroLeague Women champion, Nnemkadi Ogwumike.
Outlook: Dikeoulakos is one of the most experienced playcallers in this competition and the former Nadezhda and Fenerbahce head coach will be the pivotal figure. He will need to use all of his experience to get his team in a position to challenge for the post-season.
Last year, there was nothing but upheaval for CCC and the lack of wins was troubling, but they now look to have some stability – although a couple of early losses in the Polish League has raised some eyebrows.
Perhaps with almost an entirely new roster, patience will be required as chemistry is sealed and they get their full team on the floor.
Luck could play a part as while they have some nice players in their core rotation, they don’t have quite the same depth as some other teams. But, they must make home advantage pay and it may be that the team is heavily skewed towards a powerful frontcourt, with some pressure on the guards to have to rise too high, in order for Polkowice to be successful.