×

Follow FIBA on Facebook

Lindsey Harding (BLR)
23/02/2015
News
to read

Belarus hope Harding helps team reach Olympics

MINSK (EuroBasket Women 2015) - Belarus are going to have a very different look when they show up at EuroBasket Women 2015 in June and attempt to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

Coach Anatoli Buyalski expects American Lindsey Harding to wear the national team jersey as a naturalized player.

Harding, who has a long NBA career under her belt and also experience in Europe, has already been presented with a Belarus passport and now the country is working to have her papers approved by the relevant basketball authorities.

Buyalski, who reached agreement on a deal last October to coach the national team for a third spell in his career, says the national team backcourt is in dire need of an injection of quality, with the country's performance at the 2014 FIBA World Championship proof.

Belarus had a chance to reach the Quarter-Finals but imploded in the fourth quarter of a game against China and exited the tournament one victory shy of the last eight.

It didn't help former coach Rimantas Grigas that his starting point guard, Aliaksandra Tarasava, suffered a serious knee injury in the team's very first game against Korea.

"We've been struggling with depth in the point guard position for some time," Buyalski said.

"Harding will help us, for sure.

"She's experienced and skilled and already adapted to the European concept of basketball.

If everything is okay, she'll join us at the beginning of the training camp - Belarus coach Anatoli Buyalski

Buyalski, who was speaking to Belarus basketball journalist Dmitri Gerchikov of Pressball, added: "We're looking forward to integrating Lindsey into our system and with her help, reaching our main aim - to qualify for the 2016 Olympics."

Harding, 30, is a 1.73m point guard with a lot of WNBA experience, can score but also set up her teammates.

She has competed in Europe, too, including in the EuroLeague Women with Teo Vilnius (2010) and Galatasaray (2012).

Harding is currently playing in Turkey's top flight with Edirnespor.

Belarus will compete in Group B of the EuroBasket Women in Romania against Greece, Poland, Italy and Turkey.

Buyalski is also keeping his fingers crossed that frontcourt veterans Anastasiya Verameyenka and Marina Kress, who both missed the World Championship while on maternity leave, return to the squad.

FIBA