16 - 25
June 2017
Lithuania vs Montenegro; 15 Angelica Danielle ROBINSON (Montenegro)
to read

Familiar faces keep Robinson smiling

ISTANBUL (FIBA EuroBasket Women 2017/EuroCup Women) - Angelica Robinson is already counting down the days to pulling on a Montenegro national team vest again.

Not least, because there will be a very familiar face calling the shots for her adopted country at FIBA EuroBasket Women 2017 in June.

The center will be reunited with Spanish play-caller Roberto Iniguez, who was surprisingly named as head coach recently after riding with Robinson all the way to an historic EuroLeague Women Final place with Nadezhda last season.

It is something which only adds to the anticipation for Robinson, as she prepares to play in her second major tournament with Montenegro.

"After my season in Orenburg, he told me that he would coach me once again, but I never thought he would be my next national team coach for Montenegro," explained Robinson.

"I was thrilled when a team-mate shared the news about Iniguez coming on board as head coach. Roberto is one of the best coaches in Europe and with a very impressive resume from working with the best of the best in women's basketball. He knows the game, he knows how to help each player understand their role on the team, how to encourage each player to constantly play up to her potential, and he is just a tremendously hard worker 24/7.

"My first EuroBasket Women Final Round was a little nerve-wracking, especially with the short transition to the team after my season with CB Avenida in Spain," the 1.98m center recalled. "Over the last two years, I [have begun to] feel more comfortable with my surrounding, my team-mates, and the Federation.

"I am definitely looking forward to joining the team after my season in Turkey and preparing for the Final Round in Czech Republic this summer. Looking at our group and the prospect of facing Latvia, Belgium and Russia, all these teams have very strong frontcourts, which is the core of their teams, along with veteran guards. We will see a lot of battles in the paint in the opening phase and at the end of the day, it is all about who wants to become the top team in Europe."

If there is a familiar face to look forward to from last year's heroic exploits with Nadezhda, there is already one in-situ alongside the 29-year-old in the locker room at Yakin Dogu Universitesi.

The high-flying and ambitious Turkish side not only landed the powerhouse from Nadezhda, but also inked a deal with the free-scoring Kayla McBride who was also a major component of that run to the EuroLeague Women Final.

FINAL FOUR. I love my team!!! #Nadezdha #TogetherAsEver @euroleaguewomen

A post shared by Kayla McBride (@kaymac_21) on

Now the pair are linking up again and trying to catapult their new club to EuroCup Women glory, alongside domestic honors, with Yakin Dogu currently leading the KBSL.

"Kayla is more than just a team-mate to me, since we are like sisters for the most part and always supporting each other - both on and off the court at every opportunity we get," revealed Robinson. "It is great to have her back playing [after a serious injury] and be side-by-side again and we're both looking forward to continuing our run in EuroCup Women and in the Turkish League.

"Meanwhile, until this day, I have never sat down and watched the EuroLeague Women Final, because I want to remember [in my own mind] how hard we worked to get there as a team. I wouldn't trade that moment for anything in the world. That team will always be special to me and the way we made that most unbelievable and historic run for Nadezhda," she said, reflecting on a Final that will be remembered most by a stunning shootout sequence.

Standing in the way of Robinson and McBride making more waves and replicating their EuroLeague Women success in EuroCup Women are ESBVA-LM, who will match-up against them in the Quarter-Finals.

Robinson is acutely aware of the quality the French side possess, having landed in the competition via the EuroLeague Women Regular Season and is expecting they will provide the stiffest examination yet of Yakin Dogu and their credentials.

She confirmed: "The Quarter-Finals will focus on who wants to play the hardest, both offensively and defensively, for the entire 40 minutes. We will be facing a team with a different style of play and who have been coming competing at EuroLeague Women level for the last few months.

"We never underestimate a team and we know the strengths of ESBVA-LM who have a core of [Alina] Iagupova from Ukraine, [Olivia] Epoupa who is still developing to be the next top point guard in France, and [Valeriane] Ayayi who is a very versatile player on the court. We must continue to focus on our role as a team to help each other advance to the Semi-Finals."

The first leg of the EuroCup Quarter-Final takes place in France next Tuesday, with the return game on Friday March 10.