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Milovanovic return gives co-hosts cause for celebration
BELGRADE (Serbia) - FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 co-hosts Serbia look like having headline star Jelena Milovanovic back in their ranks for next month's showpiece event.
The former Sopron Basket star missed the entire 2018-19 club campaign due to maternity leave, but was one of the standout names, along with Sonja Petrovic and Ana Dabovic, as Serbia revealed their Final Round candidates.
|Serbia 19-player squad for FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2019|
|Miljana Bojovic||Ivana Brajkovic||Dajana Butulija||Sasa Cado|
|Aleksandra Crvendakic||Ana Dabovic||Nevena Jovanovic||Sara Krnjic|
|Nikolina Milic||Maja Miljkovic||Jelena Milovanovic||Sonja Petrovic|
|Jovana Popovic||Ivana Raca||Aleksandra Racic||Maja Skoric|
|Aleksandra Stanacev||Dragana Stankovic||Katarina Zec|
"The gathering of the national team is a favorite part of the year and I was personally looking forward to meeting with my teammates and for the preparations as I missed the entire season," revealed Milovanovic, who will lead her team in the so-called 'Group of Death' against Belarus, Belgium and Russia.
"We are expecting intense preparations, but we are ready to do this, because we know what is ahead of us this summer.
"It is important that we are all healthy and that it remains so. We are in a strong group and we have to be fully prepared to fight for the top six positions leading to qualifying for the Olympics," she added.
With Milovanovic, Petrovic and Dabovic leading the way, the 2015 winners will also be surrounded by a familiar core of those who have enjoyed success under head coach Marina Maljkovic. She is back at the helm for her second spell, having not been in situ for the previous edition of Final Round in Prague.
The familiar faces include the likes of Aleksandra Crvendakic, Sasa Cado, Dajana Butulija, Sara Krnjic, Dragana Stankovic and Nevena Jovanovic. Meanwhile one of the most interesting moves was a recall for veteran playmaker Miljana Bojovic - another player who recently became a mother.
There are chances for some younger players to impress such as Ivana Raca who has been impressing with Wake Forest in the NCAA, while former Bosnia and Herzegovina player Nikolina Milic is a new option having been naturalized.