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Our 10 players to watch in the last FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 Qualifiers window
MUNICH (FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 Qualifiers) - It's crunch time in the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 Qualifiers as we enter the last window with the last remaining tickets waiting to be snapped up.
We have picked out 10 players who will be looking to drive their respective teams to success. Meanwhile you can also view all of the permutations heading into the penultimate game day HERE.
Styliani Kaltsidou - Greece
What you need at times like this, is experience. And, few players in this window have as much on their resume as Kaltsidou, who earlier this week, announced her intention to call time on her illustrious career after these two crunch games . She has rolled back the years during much of these Qualifiers and must do so again. Greece had a mixed bag in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup and the forward will know that their hopes are on a knife edge. Meanwhile up against Great Britain, Kaltsidou can also bring the inside track and scouting report on perhaps the two biggest hitters for the Brits in the shape of Temi Fagbenle and Jo Leedham-Warner as club colleagues at CCC Polkowice.
Temi Fagbenle - Great Britain
The Minnesota Lynx and CCC Polkowice center has certainly got game and Fagbenle has been putting up some amazing numbers in Poland of late - enough to have her down as one of the three contenders for the October Player of the Month gong. Now her attention will be on trying to take Great Britain back to the Final Round. After a difficult debut tournament in 2015, and then the team missing out on the 2017 edition, plus some well-documented turmoil off the court for the Federation, a win against Greece would give British Basketball a serious injection of sunshine. Fagbenle will be hoping to exploit the Greece frontcourt which is arguably under-sized and has a shorter rotation than most.
Marica Gajic - Bosnia and Herzegovina
While it has been a slow start to life at Hatay after her summer switch from Mersin, expect Gajic to go up a gear when in her national team jersey. If Bosnia and Herzegovina want to complete an upset and sneak a fairytale first ever spot at the Final Round, then she will need to recapture the form that has seen her amass a spectacular 22.8 points and 14 rebounds per game across the first two windows. A big performance from Gajic is probably an absolute necessity in Saturday's Balkan derby with Montenegro if Bosnia and Herzegovina want to keep their hopes alive.
Milica Jovanovic - Montenegro
Behind headline duo Jelena Dubljevic and (latterly) Glory Johnson, the latest naturalized option, there is no doubt that the challenge of Montenegro has also been founded on the consistency of Milica Jovanovic. Rarely in the limelight and yet with a stack of experience, it is no coincidence that the forward has her best games against the better opposition. A super team player, if she comes up with the same kind of games as she did against Bosnia and Herzegovina and especially against Slovakia, Montenegro will be in with a great chance of progressing.
Tilbe Senyurek - Turkey
While it was a challenging and generally gloomy FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup for Turkey, one of the few bright spots was the mature performances of Senyurek who shot the ball better than most and gave an indication she may be ready to step up. Having already missed one of the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 Qualifiers windows, perhaps it's now time for Senyurek to shine with Turkey just one win away. Additionally, since minutes have not been forthcoming at Fenerbahce, surely she will be eager to get some important court time in big games under her belt.
Teja Oblak - Slovenia
Less than 18 months ago, Slovenia had not even set foot at a Final Round and yet here they are, just one victory from making it to the big stage yet again. Having made their maiden appearance last year at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket in Prague, that momentum has since continued and they are 4-0 in their group, having taken the considerable scalp of France. They need to maintain their focus, but back in EuroLeague Women, expect Oblak to be the leader of that drive to keep standards high. She is averaging a fantastic 5.8 assists per game so far and along with Nika Baric, Shante Evans and Eva Lisec, will be dreaming of continuing the rise of the women's game in Slovenia.
Alena Hanusova - Czech Republic
The forward could justifiably stake a claim to being one of the best players in the Qualifiers having taken her country to the brink of qualification. Now only one win away from taking a coveted ticket, watch out for Hanusova doing the business again. Having crashed and burned as hosts of FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2017, the renaissance which has seen the Czechs rise impressively from the flames has been led by Hanusova. She has dropped 18.3 points per game, leads with 7.3 boards per game and is by far the most efficient and influential performer of her team. Even if she has not been front and central for ZVVZ USK Prague in EuroLeague Women, don't let that fool you. She has played some really smart cameos so far.
Giorgia Sottana - Italy
The combo skills and impressive experience of Sottana is going to be vital for Italy as they try to take a leap towards qualification by winning in Croatia. They are looking to build on that fabulous win on the road in Sweden and also exact revenge on Croatia for that hurtful and shock home loss during the initial window. Also to be fair to the guard, while a lot of attention has been on Cecilia Zandalasini since her national team and club colleague switched to Istanbul, it is arguably Sottana who has caught the eye more in recent weeks.
Marija Rezan - Croatia
It is a must-win game for Croatia and losing is not an option if they want to keep their hopes alive. With Italy not exactly possessing a roster with endless choices or options under the basket, opportunity knocks for Rezan. She leads her country in efficiency, scoring and rebounding in these Qualifiers. Averaging almost 24 points and 10 boards per game, she has turned heads and that stellar 35 points and 13 rebounds in the first meeting against Italy should give her even more confidence. Rezan has also been part of a ZVVZ USK Prague side who have started EuroLeague Women 3-0 and are one of only three clubs to still be flawless.
Maria Vadeeva - Russia
This will be the first game that Vadeeva has played for her country with WNBA minutes on her roster via her adventure at the LA Sparks, while she also reports into camp with UMMC Ekaterinburg against her name - rather than Dynamo Kursk or Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje. That is important because Vadeeva continues to grow up quickly and gain new experiences which can only add even more for Russia. So far she has been simply outstanding wearing national team colors and there is no reason for this to change. A tricky window awaits, but this women's basketball 'Terminator' is ready to destroy whoever lies in front of her path - as usual!
You can follow all the action on game day by checking out our Live Blog.